Turkey’s Antalya hopes to host 7 million Russian tourists - governor

In August Russia lifted the ban for chartered flights between Russia and Turkey

Turkey’s Antalya Province hopes to overcome next year the slump of visiting Russian tourists and to double the earlier number of Russians coming to the resorts - from 3 to 7 million people, the province’s Governor Munir Karaloglu told reporters on Sept. 24.

"If in 2017, we manage to settle all problems with Russia, restore the cooperation fully, and no obstacles remain, then Antalya has all resources to host twice more Russian tourists against the pre-crisis 2014 - up to seven million," he said.

Both the airport’s capacity and the accommodation in Antalya will be able to serve that number of tourists, he said.

Before the yearend, he continued, Antalya would be happy to host 500,000 Russian tourists.

"In 2017, we would like to reach at least the level of 2015, so that later on we build up the potential," he said. "If all problems are settled, people will be coming."

In 2014, Turkey hosted 4.5 million tourists from Russia, including 3.5 million in Antalya. Weaker ruble affected the number of tourists in 2015 - out of 3.5 million visitors 2.7 million stayed in Antalya.

On Aug. 28, Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree lifting the ban for chartered flights between Russia and Turkey.

Russia’s air communication with Turkey had been closed since late October 2015 after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, which was on an anti-terror mission over the Syrian skies. In response, Russia imposed a number of restrictions on goods and services from Turkey.

In August 2016, after the Turkish president brought his apologies for the downed Russian bomber and after the talks between the leaders of Russia and Turkey, both sides made a decision to start restoring bilateral relations. After the study of security issues at Turkish airports, the Russian Transport ministry’s experts sent a relevant report to the government. 

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