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Number of Russian tourists arriving in Turkey could hit 4 million

Number of Russian tourists arriving in Turkey could hit 4 million

The number of Russian tourists arriving in Turkey could hit 4 million with the opening of the borders between the two countries, Russian media reported Wednesday.

Turkey has been the destination for which Russians have made the highest number of reservations over the recent weeks, according to a report in the Russian language daily, Kommersant. The country has also been sought the most on web sites of Russian tour operators, it said.

Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministry last week said Ankara and Moscow have agreed to resume flights following three and a half months of suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak, in a decision highly sought by the Turkish tourism industry. Flights resumed as of July 15.

Some 7 million Russians visited Turkey last year, the report recalled, adding the number could hit 4 million this year following the resumption of flights between the two countries.

The report also noted Russians have been flying to Turkey through Belarus, as well as to their other destinations, including Albania and Egypt.

In April, after the introduction of a nationwide lockdown in Russia, experts of travel search company Aviasales noted a rise in requests for flights from Minsk – the largest international airport in Belarus – to Turkey.

Since mid-May, immediately after the first relaxation steps in Russia, Aviasales users have started to actively search for the possibility of flying to Turkey via Belarus.

Russians are interested in flights to Istanbul, Antalya, Dalaman, Izmir, and Bodrum, although there are no direct flights to these Turkish destinations yet.

Flights from Belarus to Turkey resumed on July 1, but the cost of air tickets is currently higher than usual, with one-way trip from Minsk to Istanbul on a direct flight of Turkish Airlines costing around 34,000 rubles (nearly $485).

Russian citizens topped the list and accounted for 15.6% (7 million) of all arrivals in Turkey in 2019, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.