MOSCOW, April 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Union of Travel Industry (RST) has expressed concern over Turkey's new rule that permits Russian tourists to visit Turkey only if their foreign passports remain valid four months before they are to leave Turkey, RST spokeswoman Irina Tyurina told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday. According to the previous rules, the foreign passports of Russian citizens were to remain valid three months before they were scheduled to leave Turkey.
“In fact, earlier Turkey had admitted tourists if their foreign passports remained valid throughout the term of their presence in Turkey, while the new rules have extended the required validity of Russian citizens' passports to four months, which is also subject to strict control,” the RST spokeswoman said.
Incidents have already been registered when Russian tourists were not allowed on board flights heading for Turkey followed by subsequent annulment of booked tours, she said.
"Neither travel agents in Russia nor tourists had expected the situation to take such a turn. The Turkish embassy released a corresponding notification about the change on its website on April 16 only after rumors about the change had reached representatives of the travel business, who appealed to the Turkish consulate for explanations," Tyurina said.
As a result, problems arose which made Russian tourists cancel already paid tours to Turkey for May holidays because their foreign passports are not valid for a period demanded by the Turkish authorities, RST said in a letter addressed to the Turkish ambassador in Russia and the Turkish ministry of culture and tourism.
Since no notification had been made beforehand about the new requirements, RST appealed to the Turkish side, asking to suspend the new rules until May 12, 2015," which will enable the Russian tourists who have already bought tours to Turkey, not to annul the tours, but enjoy their May Day vacation at Turkish resorts," the letter said.