Turkey becomes top destination for Ukrainian tourists: Association
ISTANBULTurkey has become the largest tourism destination for Ukrainian tourists as almost 75 percent of 1.5 million Ukrainian tourists that travel overseas visit Turkey, according to a leading Turkish tourism association.
The Hotels Association of Turkey (TÜROB) said April 11 that there had been a 48 percent year-on-year increase in the number of Ukrainian tourists visiting Turkey in 2016 despite many difficulties that have hit the sector.
“This growth trend is expected to continue this year,” read the statement, which was released following a leading sector fair in Ukraine.
More than 1 million Ukrainian tourists visited Turkey last year, with more than half visiting the Mediterranean resort of Antalya for an 82 percent year-on-year increase, according to the report.
Around 270,000 Ukrainian tourists visited Istanbul in 2016 for an increase of around 7 percent, it added.
Other top destinations for Ukrainian tourists were Israel, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Egypt, Thailand, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the release.
In a bid to boost tourism, Turkey and Ukraine recently signed an agreement allowing their citizens to travel to each other’s countries with only an identity card.
The agreement was inked on March 14 during Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s visit to Ankara upon Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s invitation.
TÜROB said the number of such ID cards was still very low and a dramatic impact from this move on arrivals from Ukraine was not expected this year, adding that the visa exemption for Ukrainian tourists visiting Turkey had been extended from 60 to 90 days.
Turkish Airlines operates a total of six direct flights to Ukraine.
Some 150,000 Turkish tourists visited Ukraine last year, according to the TÜROB release.