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Russian tourists abandon tours to Istanbul over riots

June 18, 2013, 13:00 UTC+3

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, bookings in Istanbul’s hotels have declined by 50 percent

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MOSCOW, June 18 (Itar-Tass) - Russian tourists abandon trips to Istanbul over continuing riots in the Turkish capital, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia said on Tuesday.

Along with this Russians continue to buy tours to spend their vacations in Turkey’s resorts, where the situation remains calm.

“The majority of tourists preferred to abandon their tours to Istanbul, only two tourists who booked their trips in advance left for the Turkish capital,” he said. “Hotels and air carriers try to take reciprocal steps towards tourists and to annul tours with minimal penalties.”

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, bookings in Istanbul’s hotels have declined by 50 percent of late.

Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism reports a huge number of cancellations of bookings in hotels of Istanbul and Ankara.

The Turkish tourism authorities assure that the situation remains calm at the country’s resorts and there is no threat to tourists. This information was confirmed by the director-general of Russia’s large tour operator specializing on Turkey.

“The air communication and transport services in cities operate in a normal mode, hotels continue to receive tourists,” he said. “According to our information, everything is calm at resorts. Tourists do not ask to terminate their vacations or annul advance bookings.”

“The Turkish ministry provides tour operators with reliable information on the situation in the country,” the Association of Tour Operators of Russia said. It maintains active contacts with tour operators of Germany, Russia, Great Britain, which send more tourists to Turkey trying to prove that “such actions of protest can take place in any democratic country.”

On Monday Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich confirmed the recommendation issued by the ministry on June 6 asking tourists to refrain from visiting Turkey’s crowded areas.

“I recall that we called on our citizens spending their vacations in Turkey’s resorts to show cautiousness and vigilance and to avoid areas crowded with demonstrators,” he said.

Last Sunday new protests embraced Istanbul. Demonstrators tried to break through Taksim Square. Police used tear gas and water cannons. As a result, 440 people were arrested. Ankara hosted an action in support of protesters in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

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