Turkey does not plan to “surrender to any of the parties” of the current geopolitical conflict – however, it is ready to make every effort to keep at least some of the Russian tourists. Including allow “direct exchange” ruble – lira. Such conclusions can be drawn from the statement of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, returning from a meeting in NATO, first of all discussed the prospects for Russian-Ukrainian tourism.
First of all, he noted that it would be “too ambitious” to expect a serious increase in tourism in Turkey this year. Russians and Ukrainians rank first and third in the country in terms of the number of visitors, respectively. Russians accounted for 19% of foreign visitors in 2021 with 4.7 million people, while Ukraine was the third largest with 8.3% with 2.1 million people. They accounted for about 27.3% of the total 24.7 million visitors who arrived during 2021, compared to about 15 million in 2020. The share increased from 24.5% in 2020 to 19% in 2019.
Obviously, hopes for a repeat of 2019, when about 52 million visitors, including about 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians, brought in an income of 34 billion dollars in vain. And yet, the Turkish authorities have some hopes for Russian tourism.
First of all, as President Erdogan stated: “Russian President Vladimir Putin also promised that Moscow would not create any obstacles and would encourage the travel of its citizens to Turkey.” That is, there is no fear of official “closure” in the country.
Second, Turkey is ready to take a step towards working with national currencies. Erdogan stressed that earlier Turkey offered Russia to conduct business in national currencies. “We said, let's do it with our national money, with our internal money, and let's work in rubles and Turkish lira. “Now it turns out that we are right, and they say that it is possible to work with the ruble-lira, as well as with other countries and their currencies,” Erdogan said.
Also, the Turkish president expressed confidence that Turkey there will be no “very serious problems” with attracting tourists, “because we are a reliable country.”
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