First Russian tourist flight in 7 months lands in Turkey

Ankara, July 9 (IANS) The first charter flight carrying 189 Russian tourists from Moscow to Turkey landed in Antalya city on Saturday after seven months of sanctions imposed by Russia, which banned travel agencies from selling tour packages to Turkey.

The plane operated by Russia’s state-owned Rossiya Airlines landed at the airport of Antalya, Efe news reported.

The landing ends bilateral tensions that have severely affected the tourism sector throughout Turkey, where Russian tourists have made up the second largest group after Germans in recent years, with 4 million visitors in 2015.

Moscow had previously banned travel agencies from selling tour packages to Turkey after Ankara shot down a Russian fighter on the Syrian-Turkish border in November 2015 and refused to apologise, although individual tourism continued.

The apology offered in late June by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thawed relations, so Moscow announced on July 7 the lifting of the tourism sanctions.

–IANS

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