The Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB), in a recent statement, said that Russia has proposed organizing joint cruise tours on the Black Sea route between Sochi and Istanbul.
According to the TÜROB statement, Russian tourism in Turkey, which almost came to a standstill last year following the jet downing crisis between the two countries, has entered a revival period, as one of Turkey's biggest tourism markets.
Even though the number of tourists recorded in 2014, some 4.5 million, may not be reached, 3-3.5 million Russian tourists were expected to visit Turkey this year.
It was noted in the statement that at the MITT 2017 Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition, attended by TÜROB President Timur Bayındır and its executive board, Russia proposed cooperation between the two countries to launch cruise tours on the Sochi-Istanbul route in the Black Sea. The proposed tour would sail along the Black Sea coast, starting in Sochi and ending in Istanbul.
According to the statement, TÜROB prepared a report following the fair, taking into account the demands made by Russia in the first quarter of the year, and reservations for the next months. The report included expectations from this market, which is very important for the Turkish tourism sector. The number of tourists coming from Russia to Turkey dropped by 76 percent to reach 866,000 in 2016, compared to approximately 4.5 million tourists in 2014 and 3.5 million in 2015, according to the report. A total of 31.6 million Russians traveled abroad in 2016.
Turkey, which had been the top destination for Russian tourists, fell down to eighth position last year. However, with a thaw in Turkey-Russian relations, and given Turkey's popularity among Russian tourists, as well as price-quality balance, experience of the industry, and possible demand contraction in European market will likely bring Russian tourists back to the country this season.