Turkey could lose 500,000 tourists due to Russia flight restrictions - NTV

FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy arrives to attend the Enthronement Ceremony Of Emperor Naruhito of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan October 22, 2019. Carl Court/Pool via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said flight restrictions imposed by Russia until June could cost Turkey 500,000 tourists, broadcaster NTV reported on Wednesday.

Russia said it will restrict flights to and from Turkey from April 15 to June 1 as new coronavirus infections rose to an all time high in Turkey, prompting fresh lockdown measures.

“The date when the flight ban ends could be brought forward depending on a fall in COVID-19 case numbers. There might be a fall of near 500,000 in tourist numbers,” Ersoy said, adding that there are no issues with summer bookings, according to NTV.

On Monday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that a Russian delegation would visit Turkey’s tourist destinations soon to observe coronavirus control measures in the areas.

The outbreak slashed Turkey’s tourism revenues by two thirds last year, an economy reliant on tourists to bring in foreign currency revenue that helps curb its chronic current account deficit.

Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Daren Butler