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Turkish tourism sector scrambles to minimize fallout of Ukraine war

Bracing for a big loss of Russian and Ukrainian holidaymakers this summer, Turkey’s tourism industry is looking for replacements in Europe and the Middle East. But few are hopeful that the gap can be closed.
Prepared sunbeds sit empty at a luxury hotel on March 9, 2022, in Antalya, Turkey.

Turkey’s tourism industry, a vital hard-currency earner for the country, is scrambling to boost tourist flows from Europe and the Middle East, desperate to minimize the damage it faces from the prospective loss of millions of Ukrainian and Russian holidaymakers this summer.

Tour operators hope to attract larger numbers of holidaymakers from European countries, chiefly Germany, and capitalize on Turkey’s recent fence-mending quest in the Middle East to lure more Arab and Israeli tourists, though few have illusions of fully compensating for the damage. Russians and Ukrainians accounted for some 23% of foreign visitors to Turkey last year. Russians were the largest group, numbering some 4.7 million, while about 2 million Ukrainians were the third-largest group after Germans. 

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