Turkey may lose 500,000 tourists after Russia’s flight restrictions — minister

Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy on Wednesday said Turkey might lose nearly 500,000 tourists by June after Russia imposed flight restrictions, the NTV broadcaster reported.

“There might be a fall of nearly 500,000 in tourist numbers,’’ Ersoy was quoted as saying.

The minister said no problems had been observed with summer bookings so far, and the end date of the ban could be brought forward depending on the decrease in COVID-19 case numbers.

On Monday, Russia decided to reduce the number of regular and charter flights with Turkey from April 15, to June 1, to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile said a Russian delegation would visit Turkey in the upcoming period to observe the pandemic-related measures in the field.

In spite of a mass COVID-19 inoculation drive inaugurated in mid-January in Turkey, the daily cases hit a record high of more than 59,000 on Tuesday.

Turkey has imposed a “partial closure’’ for the first two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to curb the infections surge.

The new measures will take effect on Wednesday evening.