Turkey became the most sought-after holiday destination by Russians in July, according to Russian search engine Yandex.
According to reports by Gazetem, a Turkish-language Russian news portal, the Russian Association of Tour Operators announced that the keywords "holiday in Turkey" were used in approximately 7.6 million searches by Russian users in July. The number of Turkey-related searches even increased by 15.4 percent in comparison to the previous year, before Russia imposed sanctions on tour sales to Turkey due to the jet downing crisis on Nov. 24 last year.
Turkey led the way with the most sought-after holiday destinations, followed by Greece, Southern Cyprus, Tunisia, Thailand, Abkhazia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Spain. The key word "tour" was used 91,000 more times in Russia last month compared to the month of June.
Relations between Russia and Turkey reached a stalemate in November last year after Turkish jets downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace. As a result, Russia took harsh steps by imposing economic sanctions on Turkey which included a ban on tour packages; a sanction which was recently lifted with the start of the normalization process.
The normalization process between Ankara and Moscow began in June and is expected to speed up since the meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin which was held in St. Petersburg on Aug. 9. The meeting resulted in important decisions being taken jointly to increase economic cooperation in many fields including energy, agriculture and defense.