Russian Comeback Raises Hopes of Revival for Turkish Tourism

The return of Russian tourists to Turkey after a more than two-month travel ban has raised expectations of a revival in Turkish tourism revenues this year.

The first plane from Russia landed at the Mediterranean city of Antalya early Tuesday after Moscow lifted a ban it imposed on April 15. About 12,000 Russian tourists are expected to arrive in the city on dozens of flights on the first day alone, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

As coronavirus-related travel restrictions are gradually eased across the globe, Turkey’s tourism ministry expects at least 17 million arrivals and around $20 billion in related income in 2021. The nation’s tourism receipts dropped 65% last year to $12.1 billion as a result of global measures to reduce the impact of Covid-19.

The Kremlin’s ban took a particular toll on Turkey’s tourist hot spots, which attracted more visitors from Russia than any other country in 2019. Spending by overseas visitors is a major source of foreign currency for Turkey, helping to finance a current account that has posted 18 straight monthly deficits.

New coronavirus cases in Turkey declined to 5,294 on Monday from a peak of 63,082 in April. A nationwide curfew that was implemented on Sundays will be removed as of July 1, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday in Ankara.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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