Despite the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Antalya welcomed more Russian tourists in the first months of this year than it did in the same periods of 2021 and 2020, raising hopes of the local tourism industry that the number of tourists visiting the province may exceed 10 million this year.
“The most important development for the local tourism industry is the war between Russia and Ukraine. But, despite the ongoing crisis, 376,000 Russians visited the province January-May, up from the 145,000 visitors from Russia in the same period of 2020,” Yavuz said, noting that in the first five months of last year, 300,000 Russians vacationed in Antalya.
If the war had not broken out, the number of Russian tourists visiting the province could have exceeded the 2019 level, according to Yavuz.
In 2019, 1.25 million Russians visited Antalya.
Based on the data for the past 10 years, it is now predicted that the province is likely to lure 10.9 million foreign tourists in 2022, he said.
More flights from Russia
Some 25 planes arrived in Antalya from Russia per day in May, Yavuz said.
“The local industry started to recover from the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, but then the war broke out. However, toward the end of May, tourism activity began to revive as Antalya is the favorite destination for both European and Russian holidaymakers.”
The number of flights from Russia to Antalya increased further in June, according to Yavuz.
In the first week of this month alone, more than 100,000 Russian tourists arrived in the province on 452 flights, he noted.
“Both Turkish airlines and Russian carriers, via Sochi, hold flights [between the two countries]. The number of flights is increasing by the day,” Yavuz said.
In the first five months of 2022, more than 2.4 million foreign tourists visited the province, which marked a 223 percent increase from a year ago.
In May alone, Antalya welcomed 1.2 million visitors, up 297 percent on an annual basis.
Nearly 596,000 Germans and 368,000 Russians vacationed in the province in January-May.
Yavuz recalled that Turkey aims to host 42 million tourists and generate $35 billion in tourism revenues. “Those are very realistic targets,” he said.
Hurriyet Daily News