Russian tourists are waiting for the resumption of flights to Turkey to return to the country’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and enjoy the rest of the summer holiday.
Irina Balcı, the president of the Russian Art and Culture Association, is one of the representatives of hundreds of Russian citizens who have settled in Antalya. She told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday that a significant number of Russians are waiting for the flights to return to the city, after air travel was suspended March 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Russian holidaymakers have packed their luggage and are waiting,” she said.
Balcı said many Russian tourists have already started making reservations for the upcoming weeks and most of them deem the city as a safe place during the coronavirus pandemic due to the low number of cases there.
“Antalya offers diverse tourism activities for holidaymakers. It is not just about five-star hotels, the sea, the beach and the sun. The city offers culture, sports and religious tourism,” she said.
Anton Orlov, a Russian citizen who settled in Antalya two years ago, also said a great number of Russians want to spend the rest of the summer in the city.
“We don’t just shut ourselves inside hotels here. It is a very rich city in terms of historical and cultural tourism, making us learn something new every day. It is also an ideal city for adventure lovers,” Orlov told AA.
Ivan and Lena Vinogradov, also Russian residents, said they were among many other Russians who decided to settle in the city after spending summer vacations there.
Noting that many of her friends and relatives were not able to travel to Turkey due to the pandemic this year, Lena Vinogradov said they will be rushing to airports once the flights begin.
The Russian market is key for tourism operators, as Turkey remains a favorite among Russian tourists despite the political ups and downs between the two countries.
Russian citizens accounted for 15.6% of all arrivals in Turkey in 2019, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry. More than 7 million Russians visited Turkey last year, it said.
Their top travel destination was the resort city of Antalya on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coastline. The city hosted more than 5.5 million Russians last year, accounting for 35% of the total tourists visiting the city.
They also accounted for 7.3%, or over 130,600, of all foreign tourists who came in January of this year; however, most prefer to come after May.