Antalya, one of Turkey’s hottest tourist attractions, is preparing for an inflow of Russian holidaymakers later this month after Moscow ordered a nationwide week-long paid holiday starting Oct. 30 to curb COVID-19 infections amid record virus deaths.
In the wake of the government’s shutdown decision, thousands of Russian holidaymakers are now booking holidays in Turkey, and their main destination will be Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast.
This is an unexpected but welcome development for hoteliers in the province, who are preparing to end tourist season soon.
Several Russian tour operators reported that in just two days in the last week, the demand for holidaying in Turkey leaped as much as 300 percent. Schools will be closed during the shutdown, which will provide an opportunity for Russian families with children to travel and spend the long holiday abroad.
Russian tourists are also booking holidays for Egypt and the Maldives but the rise in demand for those destinations is around 30 percent.
Russian citizens traveling to Turkey need to provide a PCR test with negative results taken within a maximum of 72 hours before arrival.
On April 15, Russia suspended regular and charter flights with Turkey due to COVID-19 concerns. After a two-month break, Russian tourists started to come to Turkey again in late June.
According to local hoteliers, from January to September, 2.7 million Russian tourists visited Antalya, while some 880,000 German nationals vacationed in the province over the same period. Moreover, 1.1 million Ukrainian holidaymakers visited the province in the first nine months of the year.
The latest official data from the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry showed that foreign tourist arrivals in Turkey soared nearly 94 percent on an annual basis to over 14 million people in January-August.
Hurriyet Daily News