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Russians lead foreign tourist numbers in Turkey in first 10 months of 2023

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Russians took the lead among foreign tourists in Turkey, with 5.8 million visitors in the first 10 months of this year, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday, citing data from the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).

According to ATOR, Russians comprised 21 percent of foreign tourists visiting Turkey during the January-October period

The number of Russian tourists choosing Turkey as their holiday destination in the first 10 months of this year increased by 26 percent compared to the same period of 2022, but it was 12.8 percent lower than the figure recorded in 2019 before the pandemic.

Russians were followed by Germans and British in visits to Turkey so far this year.

ATOR figures also showed that Antalya continues to be the most popular destination for Russian tourists this year, hosting 3.3 million Russian visitors from January to October, with a notable 17.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Despite the positive trend, visits to Antalya still fell short by 38.7 percent when compared to the pre-pandemic figures of 2019.

A total of 672,200 Russians visited Turkey in October, reflecting a 12.5 percent decrease compared to October of last year. The decline is believed to be linked to the surge of Russian visitors to Turkey last year following Russia’s partial mobilization during the conflict with Ukraine.

Data from Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry also showed in September that Russians accounted for the largest percentage of 36 million tourists who visited Turkey in the first eight months of 2023, with 4,351,000 visitors.

Turkey, which was already a popular holiday destination for Russians, has begun to be preferred by more Russians since the EU imposed restrictions on Russians traveling to Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Obtaining visas for EU countries has become more expensive and less straightforward for Russians, while Russian air carriers have been banned from flying over or into the EU.

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