Turkey to take measures to avert negative effects of Russian tourism sanctions: Minister
ANKARA - Reuters
Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal. AA PhotoTurkey will take measures to soften any negative effects of Russian sanctions on the tourism sector amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Moscow, Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal has said.
Russia has announced a number of sanctions against Turkey following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey on Nov. 24, including calling on Russians not to visit Turkey.
“We’ll take a number of measures to help the tourism sector not be negatively affected by the Russian sanctions. Our sector representatives should be relaxed as we have immediately stepped into this crisis,” Ünal said in a tweeted comment on Dec. 1.
Saying the fuel subsidy of $6,000 that is offered to airplanes with the minimum capacity of 100 passengers will be extended, Ünal said Ankara was “working on a plan to extend the scope of this subsidy to cover Western and northern European countries.”
“I want to say to Russians that Turkey is quite a safe country, as they all know. Turkey is your home. You can visit Turkey whenever you want and enjoy your holiday. It is everyone’s right to travel,” he added.
Tourism income has been the largest component enabling Turkey to finance its current account deficit. Turkey’s net tourism income of around $46.5 billion financed 53 percent of its current account gap in 2014.
However, Turkey’s tourism revenue decreased by 13.8 percent to $7.73 billion in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same period of last year, amid a series of geopolitical risks and security concerns. Tourism revenue had increased by 1.3 percent to $4.87 billion in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2014.
An average of 4.5 million Russian tourists visit Turkey every year.