After the Russian warplane was downed by Turkey on November 24, Russia announced a number of economic and trade sanctions against Turkey, including the suspension of charter flights and a ban on tour sales to Turkey. As a result, Turkish tourism industry expects continued decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey in 2016. However under the leadership of the Tourism Ministry, a new tourism campaign will launch first in Europe to attract European tourists to Turkey.
Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) head Başaran Ulusoy said Reuters that “Although Russia was the second largest source of tourists for Turkey, it was not our only source. Our sector lures tourists from neighboring countries, Europe, the Middle East and the United States in high numbers as well. The share of Russian tourists in the overall number is around 12 percent. Our largest source is European countries, as their share is 45 percent. We believe this rate will increase after we start a promotional campaign in these markets under the leadership of the Tourism Ministry,”.
Ulusoy said reservations in February and March 2016 will be a crucial indicator about how much of an impact the number of Russian tourists will have on the sector. “Russian tourists generally make last-minute reservations rather than early reservations. In this vein, they usually make their summer reservations in February and March,” he said. “We hope the problems will be resolved by then at least. If the crisis continues, we’ll see further decline in the number of Russian tourists in 2016.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu today attended a press conference to start a major national and international publicity campaign – dubbed ‘Discover the potential’ – in Istanbul. The new campaign, which started on December 1 this year, French, English and Arabic-language promotional videos will be shown around the world, while a Turkish video clip is being prepared for the domestic market.
At the conference, Davutoglu announced that some measures had already been taken to strengthen Turkey’s competitive tourism capacity earlier in 2015. Davutoglu said that Turkey had already financially supported some travel agents for non-scheduled touristic flights to the tune of $6,000 each.
Davutoglu said that travel agents from eight countries which are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States had already received special incentives.
“The support that we will give flights which bring tourists to Antalya, Mugla and Izmir airports, is no longer for aircraft coming from a particular country,” Davutoglu added. The new implementation will apply to any aircraft from all countries regardless of their starting point.