Tour operators froze reservations, while touristic flights to Turkish provinces with Antalya in particular were cancelled, after Russian FM Sergey Lavrov recommended Russian citizens to refrain from visiting Turkey.
According to the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED), after the statements of Lavrov number of planes landing on the airports from Russia have started to fall.
Osman Ayık, the President of the TUROFED, underlined that many airliners have been arriving to Turkey’s airports free of passengers, just to bring back the Russian tourists to their country.
Ayık stressed the tourism flow from Russia usually ends in late October and early November, adding the economic value of Russian tourists’ visits to Turkey was up to 5 billion dollars every year. More than four million Russian tourists visit Turkey, he said.
According to the TUROFED chief, the number of Russian tourists has risen, including the cancellations of today, as flights to Egypt have been directed to Turkey after the deadly downing of a plane in Egypt claimed by Islamic State.
In this regard, Lavrov has said, “the level of the terrorist threat in Turkey is not lower than in Egypt”.
Having reminded reservations of Russian tour operators were freezed for next year, Osman Ayık emphasized it was early to make judgements with the numbers registered today, to forecast numbers of 2016.
“The incident is still fresh. Therefore, it is too early to comment. The relations between the two countries are deep-rooted. Thus, we hope these incidents will be soothed without escalating the issue.”
It is important not to reach a level where Russia says “I shut all the flights”, said Ayık, urging if the Russian market is let slipped, there would be no market to compensate it.