Turkish tourism will get its share from the occupation of Ukraine

According to the data of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 29 million 400 thousand tourists came to Turkey last year, while Russia, which sent approximately 4 million 700 thousand tourists, took the first place.

The invasion operation launched by Russia against Ukraine has entered its fifth day. While it was reported that the fast-moving Russian troops in the first two days were slowed down due to the strong resistance they faced in the last 72 hours, the attention of the whole world was turned to the ceasefire negotiations hosted by Belarus. Turkey comes first among those who follow the process most closely.

According to the news of VOA Turkish, Turkey cooperates with the Russian Federation not only on regional issues, but also in many fields from natural gas and oil imports to nuclear power plant construction. However, tourism with Russia, especially in 2022, when Turkey is facing an economic crisis, is of vital importance.

In recent years, Russia has become the main actor of Turkish tourism. According to the data of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 29 million 400 thousand tourists came to Turkey last year, while Russia took the first place, sending about 4 million 700 thousand tourists.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister’s call to the Tourism Department to “develop domestic tourism”

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced Turkey’s 2022 tourism income target as 35 billion dollars in January, an increase of 10.5 billion dollars compared to the previous year. Undoubtedly, Russia was the country in which the Ministry had the highest hopes for the increase in both income and the number of tourists.

However, Ukraine’s more resistance than expected and the announcement that many countries, especially the European Union and the USA, will participate in the embargo and restrictions against Russia, seem to have spoiled Moscow’s pre-attack calculations. The Russian Studies Institute, headquartered in Ankara, wrote that Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Chernyshenko ordered the Russian Tourism Department Rosturizm to prepare campaign proposals for the Russians to take a vacation in their own country this summer.

“If the Russia-Ukraine war prolongs, at least 10 billion dollars, and if it is resolved in a short time, 5 billion dollars will be lost in tourism revenues”

Tourism agency owner Cem Topaloğlu underlines that at least one-fifth of Turkey’s target tourism income is dependent on tourists from Russia, and he is concerned that the sanctions that began after the war will lead to being far from this target.

Topaloğlu said, “The war between Russia and Ukraine broke all expectations. In terms of tourism, the next picture is not encouraging at all. Last year, around 4.5 million tourists came. 6 or 6.5 million Russian tourists were expected this year. The Ministry calculates the tourist expenditure per person as 900 dollars. However, when Armenians and Georgians coming to work and Iranians transiting through are accepted as tourists, this amount decreases. I think a tourist spends around $1200. If 6.5 million does not come, almost 8 billion dollars will be lost. If we add to this the assumption that at least 1.5 million of the 2.5 million Ukrainian tourists will not be able to come, the loss exceeds 10 billion dollars. Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kazakhs working with partner agencies, which the Russians call ‘wedding rings’, may not come, and we may even experience losses among Azerbaijanis. This place is worth 1 billion dollars. If the negotiations yield results tomorrow and if the problem is resolved in a short time, we will lose 5 billion dollars, with the most optimistic estimate, due to these events and the aftershocks that will follow. Because there will be a loss of income and a loss of confidence in Russia,” he said.

Emphasizing that European tourists, especially Italian, French and Spanish, are offended by the Turkish market due to human rights violations and natural massacres in Turkey, Cem Topaloğlu said that the expected increase in Israeli tourists this year cannot replace the Ukrainian and Russian markets.


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