A recent travel agreement between Russia and Egypt has refocused attention on the Turkey tourism sector. While some expected Turkey to lose planeloads of tourists once Russia resumed its flights to Egypt, the fact some 5 million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2017 defies such logic.
In the news, Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Chairman Osman Ayık said in a statement that Egypt and Turkey are complementary markets, stating that Russian tourists prefer Egypt in the winter, and Turkey in the summer season. Ayik said specifically; “According to our current bookings, we expect an increase of 10 percent in all cases.” Meanwhile, Neset Koçkar, head of Anex Tour, said Russia has yet to issue a flight permit to Sharm El Sheikh. He continued:
“If this market opens in March, it will have a significant impact on us, making it difficult to reach even 5 million. However, we heard that the flight permit will be issued here in June. This affects the October-November period, which is the most important period for tourism. If the Egyptian market had not opened, we were expecting an increase of nearly 1 million in the number of Russian tourists. This increase rate will probably remain at around 500,000.”
In similar news, Chinese and Russian visitors boosted Middle Eastern tourism last year following a 2016 slump. Hesham El Demeiry, head of the Egyptian tourist authority told reporters recently, that Chinese and Indian visitors rose from 5 to 12 percent while tourists from Egypt’s neighbors doubled their share from 15 to 30 percent. Also according to regional reports, Turkey visits were up across the board after the slump caused by geo-political turmoil.
The downside for Turkey and the Russian influx is, newcomers are likely to spend fewer tourist dollars than their EU or US counterparts.