Declining number of Russian tourists to impact nearby sectors in Turkey

Amid a serious decline in Russian tourists coming to Turkey, adjacent sectors will also feel the brunt of this downturn, according to industry experts.

According to Aziz Gunyeli, the owner of the Unser Tourism Agency, the number of Russian visitors to Turkey dropped by 40 percent during the first four months of the year, a troubling trend that will reverberate throughout related sectors, including the boutique retail, souvenir, textile, leather and other industries.

“Due to the decline in Russian tourists, all components of the sector will continue to be negatively affected. Around this time last year, Russian tourism was vital in the Antalya region. Russians were the most visible on guided tours,” said Gunyeli, speaking to the Cihan news agency. Gunyeli said that of the 4 million tourists who came to Antalya’s Manavgat district last year, 32 percent were Russian.

“If this continues, small business owners and tradesmen will have a very difficult season,” he said. Andrey Baranov, owner of the Russian Mobaly Tourism Agency, estimates that the number of visitors he has sent to Antalya this year has dropped by 52 percent. While his agency is sending less and less tourists to India, Greece, Singapore and Thailand as well, the largest decline was observed in Antalya-bound tourists, Baranov said. “We have a tough season ahead of us. We are trying to get through it.

This slowdown has not ended after four months. There is also a significant decline in the number of tourists that we are sending to countries in the Far East. Rather than vacation, everyone is saying I have family expenses’,” Baranov told Cihan.

Ramazan Tecer, a leather goods salesman in the town of Side, says this is the biggest drop in tourists witnessed in recent years, and that many shopkeepers have been forced to close down. Jewelers, leather salesman, souvenir sellers and textile vendors have been harmed the most by the downturn, said Tecer, speaking to Cihan.

Russian tourists have been tightening their belts alongside a major economic downturn where the ruble has plunged amid falling global oil prices and an economic standoff with the West resulting from Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.