The Russians return

After a year of travel bans between Russia and Turkey, Russian tourists are now flocking back to the country’s ever-enticing resorts.

There’s even talk of the Russian tourism flow exceeding pre-crisis levels. Osman Sober, Head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation TUROFED, shared his prediction that the number of Russian tourists travelling to Turkey by the end of 2017 would exceed that of 2015.

Sober explained, “The Russian market is showing good results and we are confident that tourism flows will exceed 2015 levels. Our aim is to return to the 2014 number of Russian tourists.” In 2015, Turkish resorts welcomed around 3.5 million Russian tourists, according to Rosstat, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service. That number reached 4.5 million in 2014.

After an extremely tough year in 2016, to not only bounce back but to show organic growth in the process would be remarkable.

Are these predictions realistic? The statistics so far this year seem to suggest so.

Data released by the Federal Service of State Statistics (Rosstat) show that the total number of outbound tourism trips from Russia over the first six months of 2017 increased by 29% to 17.1 million and Turkey is the number 1 destination.

Over the first six months of 2017, TurStat Agency reports that Russian tourists made 1,632,000 trips to Turkey – an incredible growth rate of 871% on the same period in 2016.

With tour operators such as TEZ TOUR continuing its flight programmes to Turkey until mid-November, there’s still plenty of time to for the market to consolidate its numbers.

Besides Russia, Turkish hoteliers are reporting good numbers from other key countries including Ukraine, Germany, Romania, Moldova, Iran, Israel, Lithuania, Jordan, Iraq, the UK, Kazakhstan, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Azerbaijan.