Russia severs tourism ties with Turkey

Russia has severed its tourism ties with Turkey in response to the downed yet earlier this week.

Tourism is, like most countries, a vital component in Turkey’s economy. Visits are on the up from China, with Gazi Murat Şen of the Turkish Hotels Federation (TÜROFED) noting a 50 per cent increase in the last three years. But the industry is also bracing itself for a poor year, as tensions in Russia and Iran both weigh on visitor numbers – a decline in conditions compared to the booming records set in 2014, when arrivals hit the 37 million mark for the first time ever.

Indeed, in the first quarter of 2015 , Germany led arrivals, followed by Iran and Georgia, indicating a notable decline in Russian tourists, who previously have contributed an estimated $4 billion a year in tourism revenues.

The shooting down of the Russian jet on Tuesday by the Turkish air force exacerbated matters, prompting a strong response from Russia – not in terms of military, but in terms of the economy.

The head of the country’s tourism agency, Rostourism, has now said that cooperation with Turkey will “obviously” be stopped, while Reuters reports that two large tour operators have stopped selling packages to Turkey.