Greek Cyprus will lose Russian tourists to Turkey this summer as it joined other nations in imposing sanctions on Moscow after the military conflict there, said Russia’s ambassador to the Greek Cypriot administration.
“Summer is coming. You shut down your air space. How will Russian tourists come to Cyprus? They won’t, they will go to Turkey. They will spend their money there. You have shot yourselves in the foot,” Stanislav Osadchiy said in an interview.
Turkey hosted 4.7 million Russian and 2 million Ukrainian holidaymakers last year. Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, is particularly popular among Russian and Ukrainian tourists.
Turkish hoteliers are concerned about the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine on the country’s tourism industry.
Turkey had initially expected to welcome 9 million Russian and Ukrainian tourists in 2022, said Firuz Bağlıkaya, the head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
“Even if the war ends now and talks begin between the parties, we won’t have 9 million but at least 4 to 5 million Russian and Ukrainians this year,” Bağlıkaya said.
He voiced optimism that tourists from other countries, even if they are somehow affected by the conflict, will still travel to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ankara Vasyl Bodnar criticized Bağlıkaya for holding separate meetings with Russia’s Ambassador to Ankara Aleksei V. Erkhov.
“The TÜRSAB chair’s meeting with us in the morning and later with the Russian ambassador is an indication of a two-faced approach. We call on Ukrainian tour operators not to work with TÜRSAB,” Bodnar wrote on Twitter.
“As tourism professionals, who always stand for peace, we wish the military operations in the region to cease as soon as possible and peace to reign again,” TÜRSAB said in a statement.