Russia is resuming full-scale air traffic with Turkey next Tuesday, permitting the large tourist trade of Russians taking holidays in Turkey to restart, the country announced.
The decision was made following a visit of Russian experts to Turkey to assess safety measures, Vice Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told a government meeting in Moscow on Friday.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy welcomed Russia’s move on Twitter.
“Russia's resumption of flights to our country as of June 22 is an indication of the trust in our country for safe tourism,” Ersoy wrote.
“I hope that we will reap the fruits of our diplomatic traffic with other countries in the upcoming period, as with Russia,” he added.
Turkey has spearheaded safe tourism campaigns and a special certification to ensure that tourists and locals alike are safe from further coronavirus outbreaks.
Turkey is the most popular holiday direction among Russian tourists. In 2019 over 7 million Russian tourists visited Turkey, more than any other country.
In 2020, even with the pandemic, more than 2.7 million Russian tourists chose Turkey as their holiday destination.
- More flights, more countries
The Russian coronavirus emergency task force also decided to cancel restrictions for flights to the US, Italy, Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus, North Macedonia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Jordan, and Ireland, Golikova added.
In addition, starting June 28, Russia will boost the number of flights to Austria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Greece, Qatar, Finland, Croatia, Switzerland, and lift the ban for the entry of Chinese and Liechtenstein nationals, she added.
Golikova urged Russians to get vaccinated, warning that some countries will not allow the entry of unvaccinated people.
Golikova said the emergency task force has seen "a serious growth" in coronavirus cases in Russia, with the incidence rate rising 34.4% in the last five days, with the greater Moscow region the hardest hit.
The growth in COVID-19 cases in metro Moscow made up 54% of the rise, she added.
Golikova blamed the surge to ignorance of protective measures and new, more contagious strains of the virus.
The pace of vaccination has accelerated as well, she said, growing by about 5% throughout Russia, with 19.7 million people having gotten the first dose and 16.1 million both doses.
She said the virus’ spread will slow when most of the public is vaccinated.
Russia has seen a significant growth in coronavirus cases in recent days, with daily figures at their peak values.
Several regions announced mandatory vaccination for some categories of citizens and introduced stricter restrictive measures.