"Regarding tour operators who dominate the Russian market, according to my quick observation from there, we are expecting approximately six million Russian tourists will come and visit Turkey this year, according to the numbers of early reservations they have. So it is a very good sign," Kurtulmus said on the sidelines of the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT), pointing out that last year the number of Russian tourists in Turkey had amounted to 4.7 million.
The minister noted that after a worsening of bilateral ties in 2015, the two countries had managed to quickly restore cooperation in the tourism industry.
He also praised the beauty and rich culture of Russia.
"You also have a very beautiful country… So we will also encourage our Russian counterparts to come and make some marketing activities in Turkey to attract the Turkish visitors to come and visit Russia," Kurtulmus concluded.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu & Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmu @Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT). Newspaper heading reads:“Cultural center named after Turkish poet Yunus Emre to open in Moscow"#Turkey #Russia #Cavusoglu pic.twitter.com/IlMQw7mNuK— Sputnik Insight (@Sputnik_Insight) March 13, 2018
Moscow-Ankara ties have significantly worsened after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft flying on an anti-terror mission over Syria. Russia's retaliatory measures against Ankara included restrictions on the activities of Turkish organizations in Russia, a hiring freeze on Russian employers seeking to employ Turkish workers and a ban on certain food imports since January 1, 2016.
Bilateral ties began to improve following Turkey's apology in June 2016, and on May 22, 2017, Moscow and Ankara signed an agreement on the mutual lifting of multiple restrictions.