By Emre Gürkan Abay
Russia Letter – Week beginning August 29

- Good news for Turkish tourism

The week started with good news from Russia for both Turkish tourism players, as well as Russian citizens.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on Sunday, lifting the ban on charter flights to Turkey.

Upon the official decision, Russian Union of Tourism Agencies said in a press release that tour operators in Russia have begun preparations to start charter flights to Turkey.

The agency also noted that with the start of the charter flights, tour package prices to Turkey would drop by 20-30 percent, although this will also highly depend on Turkish hotels’ price regulations as well.

Cem Polatoglu, spokesman for Turkish Tour Operators Platform, said that while the holiday season is almost over, they are still expecting some 700 thousand Russian tourists with the lifting of the ban on charter flights.

Meanwhile, Russian experts noted that the decision to lift the ban on charter flights to Turkey is a “political decision,” as they believe that the safety concerns in Turkey are still ongoing due to recent events triggered by the attempted coup on July 15 Turkey’s strategy in Syria and its fight against terrorism.

- Crisis lingers

Although the rise in oil prices since the beginning of the year is good news for the Russian economy, which has been in recession for almost three years, the signals for economic recovery are still weak.

The GDP and foreign trade turnover data released last week support this point of view.

According to data released by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, the country’s economy shrank by 0.1 percent in July and 0.7 percent in annual terms. Furthermore, the foreign trade turnover decreased by 48 percent to $52 billion, compared to a year earlier.

The country’s Minister for Economic Development, Alexey Ulyukaev, recently said they were expecting the decrease in yearly GDP in July to be 0.6 percent.

While many officials are voicing concerns about the Russian economy’s high dependence on oil prices, many experts are saying that little will be done about this problem until the presidential elections in the country in 2018. 

29 Aug,2016