The first convoy of Russian tourists over the last 8 months lost airliner on Turkish resort of Antalya. The Russian immediately felt an extra dose of Turkish hospitality. Smiling Russian were treated to champagne, gave flowers and met rhythmic music.
It was a tough year for Turkey. Terrorism, refugee crisis and diplomatic tensions continue to threaten stability and prosperity. As foreign tourists stayed away in droves.
Usually during the high season, the Turkish Mediterranean resorts have empty rooms, overlooking the famous turquoise waters. Western tourists mostly consider sights of Istanbul such as Hagia Sophia, Galata tower and Grand Bazaar. Many hotels, shops and restaurants have had to reduce prices.
The almost complete collapse of Russian tourism in Turkey began in November last year, when Moscow imposed economic sanctions and banned travel to Turkey, after it was shot down by Russian military aircraft along the border with Syria.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin received an apology from the President of Turkey Erdogan. Putin authorized a gradual easing of sanctions and removed a ban on travel. Overall, Turkey has experienced a striking drop in 23% of tourists from all countries in the first 5 months of 2016 Is a devastating twist of fate for Turkey after more than ten years 200% annual growth of tourism.
The return of Russian tourists this past weekend is the first sign of thawing relations between the two countries. The Russians picked up for tours, it seemed, was happy to once again have the opportunity to book cheap holiday in Turkey, in contrast to the more expensive destinations, such as Bulgaria or Spain. Best Charter flights are expected to resume flying soon.
sections: Politics, World News, Accidents