Ankara: Turkey might lose nearly 500,000 tourists from Russia by June in the wake of Russia's decision to impose flight restrictions, Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.
"There might be a fall of nearly 500,000 in tourist numbers," Ersoy was quoted as sayingon Wednesday by Xinhua news agency.
The Minister said no problems have been observed with summer bookings so far, and the end date of the ban could be brought forward depending on the decrease in Covid-19 case numbers.
As per reports in middle of last year, Turkey was expected nearly 4 million Russian tourists in 2020, despite flight curbs by Russia during the peak of the corona pandemic. However, restrictions were released in July and there was an upbeat mood in Turkish tourist authorities. One of the major sources of revenue for Turkey is tourism.
However, on Monday, Russia decided to reduce the number of regular and charter flights with Turkey from April 15 to June 1 to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile, said a Russian delegation would visit Ankara to review the pandemic-related measures in the field, according to media reports.
Turkey, like many other countries in Europe and elsewhere, has seen a surge in the number of Covid cases, with Tuesday's number hitting 59,000, despite a mass Covid-19 inoculation drive launched in January in the country. The spread also forced Turkey to impose a "partial closure" for the first two weeks of the holy month of Ramadan to curb the infections surge.
The new measures took effect on Wednesday evening.
(With inputs from IANS)