The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey’s top holiday resort town of Antalya decreased by 81 percent, as their numbers plummeted to 2,427 in January from 12,870 of January 2015 while the total number of tourists visiting the city in January decreased 17 percent, according to official figures.
Numbers also showed that only a total of 97,601 tourists visited Antalya in January, the lowest for January in the last decade.
Antalya hosted some 135,010 tourists in January 2006 and 125,446 in January 2007. It saw its highest turnout in January 2008 with 140,306. In January 2009 and January 2010, Antalya received 106,539 and 140,019 visitors, respectively. After 2010, the number of tourists visiting the city reached a stable level, with 126,272 tourists in January 2011, 122,314 in January 2012, 111,485 in January 2013 and 116,974 in January 2014. Last January, Antalya’s total visitors stood at 117,746.
Antalya gathers millions of local and international tourists each year, with its luxury hotels usually overbooked especially in the summer seasons. Meanwhile in winter, tourism slows down due to dropping temperatures.
The Russian market experienced the largest decrease in the number of tourists visiting the city in January 2016, as Russia ranked 5th in 2016, compared to 2nd in 2015 in terms of countries with the highest number of visitors to Antalya.
Turkey was Russia’s number one foreign tourism destination for years but this came to an abrupt end following the shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish jets on the Syria-Turkey border on Nov. 24, 2015. Upon the incident, Russia imposed economic sanctions against Turkey and travel restrictions on Russian tourists visiting Turkey.
Turkey’s tourism industry also expects to see losses in other markets this year after an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suicide bomb attack in Istanbul’s top tourist spot Sultanahmet, which killed 11 German tourists on Jan. 12, highlighted security concerns for tourists planning to visit Turkey.
The loss in the German market stood at 16 percent as the number of Germans visiting Antalya decreased to 44,262 in January 2016 from 52,731 in January 2015. While Germans took the top spot for tourists in Antalya, the Dutch followed second. However the Dutch market has also decreased by 20 percent compared to 2015, as this year’s January number fell to 4,544 from 5,688.
The number of Israeli visitors saw a 122 percent increase, bringing it to third. In January 2016, the number of Israeli tourists visiting the city reached to 4,475, a huge leap from 2,008 visitors in January 2015.
Britain came fourth with a 14 percent decrease as Antalya only hosted some 2,965 English tourists in January. British tourists mostly like Antalya for its luxury golf club resorts in the Belek region of the province.
According to the statistics of Antalya’s provincial directorate of culture and tourism, among the 38 countries that send tourists to Antalya, only nine surpassed their January 2015 numbers. However, the surplus in the number of tourists arriving from these nine (which included Israel, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Serbia and Syria) covered only 30 percent of the loss caused by the decrease in the Russian market.