Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı told state-run Anadolu Agency on March 31 that he expected better visitor numbers in 2017 after a “difficult year.”
“Last year was a difficult year in terms of Turkish tourism. [But] a serious bottleneck has been passed,” Avcı said, adding that the industry was recovering and the number of tourists coming to Turkey so far this year had increased about 50 percent.
He particularly noted that the Russian market had shown a serious recovery.
Hakan Duran, the chair of Professional Hotel Managers’ Association, said on March 30 that his members expected to host around 3.5 million Russian and 1.5 million Ukrainian tourists in the southern province of Antalya this year. He said there had already been a rise in numbers so far this year.
The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey soared around 96 percent in February compared to the same month of 2016, although arrivals from Europe continued to decline, official data recently showed.
According to preliminary data released by the Tourism Ministry on March 30, some 39,261 Russians visited Turkey in February.
In 2016, the number of arrivals from Russia into Turkey fell to just 866,256 overall, a 76.2 percent drop from the previous year amid a political crisis between the two countries.
However, arrivals from Europe to Turkey continued to drop in February 2017, with 453,300 people from the continent visiting – a year-on-year decrease of around 19 percent.
Avcı claimed that arrivals from Europe would recover “if European politicians ease their negative discourse about Turkey.”