After seeing a sharp decline in the number of Russian tourists in 2016, Turkey's tourist-attracting holiday resort province Antalya expects to welcome 4 million Russian tourists by the end of this year, with the figure already exceeding 3.5 million, so far.
Erkan Yağcı, chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB), said Antalya will have welcomed about 4 million Russian tourists by the end of the year.
Yağcı said this year's tourism season is better than last year's, stressing that they have achieved a growth rate of 60 percent when compared to last year in Antalya, exceeding the figures of 2016. Yağcı also added that this year's figures are closer to those of 2014-2015, the best years of tourism for the area.
Underlining that the Russian market makes up a huge part in this year's growth, Yağcı recalled that Russia had issued a flight ban on Turkey because of the jet downing crisis in November 2015, however, there was a busy inflow of Russian tourists this year, as well.
"We will have welcomed nearly 4 million Russian tourists in Antalya by the end of the year," Yağcı said, noting that this figure will be around 5 million for Turkey as a whole. Suggesting that the Russian market is looking up, Yağcı said: "2014 was the best year in the Russian market. We will exceed the 2014 figures in 2017. This is a pleasing development."
Highlighting that difficulties continue in the European market, Yağcı said the high fall rates at the beginning of the year decreased at the end of the year. He also recalled that Antalya welcomed 12 million tourists from 2014-2015, adding that their initial goal is to reach these figures as soon as possible.
He also stressed that Antalya must reach 12 million tourists to achieve reasonable levels in existing bed capacity and prices.
Yağcı stated that they have been experiencing a decline in the German market for the last two years and that they expect the German market to grow in 2018.
Chairman Yağcı also noted that Germany is Turkey's first-source market in tourism. "Regarding the past 20-25 years, Germany has played an important role in the development of Turkish tourism with many years of cooperation and friendship between the two countries," he continued. "I think that Germany will make a rapid return to Turkish tourism if it follows a touristic policy over politics trend. We saw an example of this in the Russian market. There was no Russian market last year, and now it is having its best year."