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Drop in Russian Tourists Costs Turkey US$840 million

Russia Turkey FlagsTurkey's shooting down of a Russian warplane on its border with Syria on 24 November paralyzed relations between the two countries. The Kremlin ordered sanctions on Turkish food imports, stopped visa-free travel for Turks and barred Turkish tour operators from offering Russian tourists vacation packages. Turkey has lost $840 million in the first half of the year due to a sharp decline in the number of Russian visitors.

According to the statement of the Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR), Some 184,000 Russian tourists went to Turkey in the first six months of 2016, 87 percent less than in the same period last year.

Turkey's total revenue from tourism totaled US$5 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down 35.6 percent from 2015 and its lowest level since 1999, ATOR said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban last month after an apology from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the suspension of charter flights to the country still remains in place. Turkish and Russian presidents will come together on August 9. Turkish tourism professionals expect that the charter flights will restart following this important meeting. If the charter flights restart, tourism experts believe that 500 to 600 thousand Russian tourists are expected to visit Turkey by the end of the season and 5 million Russian tourists in 2017.

Source: The Moscow Times

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