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Russian Tourists Return To Turkish Beaches At End Of Vacation Season


The first Russian charter plane carrying tourists to Turkey since the two nations mended relations landed in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya with 309 passengers on September 2.

Russia banned charter tourist flights to Turkey after Ankara shot down a Russian war plane in November 2015 near the Syrian border.

But the ban was lifted under a normalization of ties between Turkey and Russia in June made possible by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's letter of regret to Russia over the incident.

The loss of Russian sunseekers was a severe blow to Turkey's tourism sector. Mediterranean resorts are particularly dependent on Russian business.

The number of foreign tourists in Turkey fell 30.3 percent in the first seven months of the year, according to official data.

Turkish travel agents expect only about 600,000 Russian tourists this year because the lifting of the ban came late in the holiday season. That compares with pre-ban levels of visitors of around 4.5 million a year, AFP reported.

Turkish Airlines has increased the number of daily flights from Ankara, Antalya, and Istanbul to Moscow to 11, making the Russian capital its top daily international destination.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax
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