“If the Russians don't come,” Antalya will lose at least 6.5 million tourists – a combined Russian and Ukrainian tourist flow – and is unlikely to be able to return to 2019 numbers. There is no one to fully replace Russian tourists in Turkey. At best, Antalya will catch up with the result of the last covid year, i.e. figure of 9 million tourists and that will be the end of Turkish tourism. Recep Yavuz, an Antalya tourism expert, published this assessment in his report, seriously frightening the public regarding Russian tourists.
To begin with, he recalled the obvious facts – according to the World Tourism Organization, before covid Russia and Ukraine provided 3% of world tourism. In 2019, Russians spent $36 billion on travel, while Ukraine spent $8.5 billion. Now the flow of tourists from Russia is limited – it is assumed that the total losses could amount to 14 billion dollars.
Moreover, a significant amount of these losses will fall on Turkey: the country for Russia is the most important destination in the Mediterranean with a share of 14% of all Russian tourists. Russia sent 25 million tourists in 5 years – Turkish expert says. Moreover, Antalya received about 80% of these tourists. “Thus, Russia, which sent 20 million tourists to Antalya over the past 5 years, is a very, very important resource. However, the special operation and the sanctions it caused have led to the fact that the flow of tourists has fallen far below even the year of the pandemic, which has significantly slowed down the pace of Antalya in recent years. The number of tourists arriving in Antalya in the first 4 months of the year may be only half of the same period last year,” writes Mr. Yavuz. And, although the main acute issue of the flight ban has been somehow resolved, Turkey is unlikely to receive the previous number of Russian tourists. “Even the most optimistic predict: “This year there will be only 2 million,” says a Turkish expert.
According to his forecasts, this will be the minimum of the Russian tourist flow after the pandemic. Last year, their number was 3.5 million. The crisis will probably be worse than the crisis of 2016, when Turkey was closed for almost the entire summer – due to the fact that Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet. As a result, as Mr. Yavuz estimated, Antalya alone will lose about 3 million Russians and 1 million Ukrainian tourists.
Meanwhile, European competitors are giving good forecasts so far. The expert fixes the revival in the German market, according to his estimates, 2.5 million German tourists can come to Antalya this year, including due to Turks with German citizenship. Likewise, the UK, which red carded Turkey last year and banned travel altogether, has given an “important signal” this year: more British tourists arrived at the end of the first four months than in the same period of the last three years. From June this year, when the high season begins, the number of British tourists could eventually approach 1 million.
In general, the expert adds, the first four months inspire timid hope – against the backdrop of everything that is happening in the world, the pace of Antalya is good. “But before the months that will decide the fate of the season, there is still uncertainty. If we take into account the limited ability of Russian tourists to reach and the almost complete loss of Ukraine, which never existed, then the possibilities of other markets amount to only 5 million tourists. Antalya without the Russians cannot return to the old days. But it seems that this year we will lose two-thirds of the Russian and Ukrainian potential by about 6.5 million people. Under these conditions, it would be nice if Antalya caught up with last year, receiving at least 9 million tourists,” Mr. Yavuz summed up.
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