TODAY’S – Decline in Russian tourists may result in $4.5 billion loss

Decline in Russian tourists may result in $4.5 billion lossAs the ruble has lost nearly half of its value against the dollar in recent months, the number of Russian tourists coming to Turkey may decrease by between 1 and 15 million this year, which could lead to a loss of $4.

5 billion, according to a recent report from the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TuROFED).The number of Russian tourists is expected to drop by 25-30 percent, which could result in a $2 billion loss in revenue that could balloon to $4.

5 billion after it reverberates through the tourism industry and affects interrelated sectors. This would spell a major disaster for Turkeyand#39s tourism industry, as the number of Russians visiting Turkey has increased every year since 2010.

While 31 million Russians came to Turkey that year, 44 million came in 2014, although the number began to decline in the last two months of last year following the onslaught of the currency devaluation.The area most likely to be affected is the southern Mediterranean province of Antalya, which receives more visitors annually than Istanbul and is particularly favored by Russian tourists, as around 25 percent of the total visitors to Antalya are from RussiaWestern sanctions on trade with Russia followed by self-imposed Russian embargoes of Western goods in conjunction with plunging global oil prices dealt a major blow to the Russian ruble, especially as the dollar grew stronger against major currencies.

The report said that in order to recoup the Russian losses, the industry would have to focus on other markets. It said that if Turkeyand#39s relationship with Israel improves, and if an aggressive promotional campaign was launched in Iran, tourists from those markets could potentially alleviate the Russian gap.

It also emphasized the importance of implementing more aggressive marketing in the Indian and Chinese markets regarding the Turkish tourism sector, as well as attempting to attract more visitors from Brazil and Argentina via heavy promotional campaigns. It also said that the government should do its part via incentives, discounts and other forms of support to help boost the sector and attempt to cover its losses.

Turkey is much more than just a tourist destination for Russians, as the two are major trade partners, and Ankara purchases a great deal of its natural gas from Moscow. Turkey, which unlike several of its neighbors lacks natural energy reserves, is the second largest importer of Russian gas after Germany.

It is eager to increase exports to Russia, as Moscowand#39s embargoes have carved out a potentially larger share of the market for Turkish goods.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman