Overall number of outbound Russian tourists decreased in 2016 but number of those visiting relatives or friends and number of visiting special events remained about the same. However beginning of summer season in 2017, tour operators say outbound travel will grow this year. TUI Russia alone plans to increase travel volume by 3.5 times.
The reasons behind the decline in outbound travel are some events including:
• Oct 2015 - Airplane with Russian tourists crashed in Sinai due to terrorist act. On 6 Nov 2015 Russia stopped civil air communication with Egypt. Not reopened till now
• 11 Oct 2016 – terrorist act in Cairo near St Mark's Cathedral
• 24 Nov 2015 – Turkey shot down a Russian military plane near the Syrian border.
• 28 Nov 2015 – Russia stopped charter air communication with Turkey, lasted till 28 Aug 2016
• Terrorist acts in Turkey in 2016-2017
• Ongoing flow of news about troubles with refugees in Europe
• 14 July 2016 - Truck attack at Bastille Day celebration in Nice (France)
• 19 Dec 2016 - Truck attack at the Christmas Market in Berlin (Germany)
Now in 2017, Russia’s relations with Turkey have entered a revival period. The first charter plane arrived today to Gazipasa - Alanya Airport on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. A total of 189 Russian travelers that purchased holiday package from Coral Travel will enjoy warm and traditional Turkish hospitality at Alanya hotels.
Turkey remains the most popular summer destination for Russian tourists and Turkish people are also happy to welcome them. Russia was the second largest source of foreign tourists visiting Turkey before the crisis that started in late 2015.
As the relations revive, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced the possibility of extending the term of visa-free stay for Russian citizens in Turkey. "The period of visa-free stay for Russians in Turkey will be increased from 60 to 90 days," Cavusoglu said in a conference.
Taras Demurai CEO TUI Russia and Ukraine, said that they expected to send at least 200 thousand Russian tourists to Turkey and 150 thousand to other countries. He also said that before the start of the season TUI has sold about 30% of summer tours to Turkey.
According to the news at the website of the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR), Turkish hotels already started to attract more Russian tourists by offering special discounts around 10-15% especially for the May holidays.
CEO of Biblio Globus tour operator Irina Kostenko commented that this year's Turkey sales during May holiday period are really good thanks to the special offers by Turkish hotels.
Pegas Touristik also confirmed the positive growth of sales during the May holiday period.
Coral Travel said that for the month of May, they reached 82% capacity; a similar amount is achieved in 2015.
No flights to Egypt yet
A year and a half has passed since the downing of the Russian plane in Sinai, but the Russian government is still preventing its citizens from traveling to Egypt.
British flight ban also continues to Egypt, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a travel warning in place against British citizens traveling to Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport.