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Half of Russia’s holidaymakers have chosen Turkey as their top travel destination in 2017, a report released by the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR) stated, citing estimates from the country’s tour operators and agencies, as reported by state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 18. Early reservations for Turkey resumed last September. “Russian tourists have missed Turkey. The [Russian] citizens want to benefit from early reservation discounts,” ATOR said. Turkey had become the first choice of destination among Russian tourists thanks to the recent valuation in the Russian ruble and steep cuts in Turkey’s hotel prices, according to the report. The demand for Turkey doubled compared to 2015, making that half of Russia’s holidaymakers, while the other half chose Greece, Bulgaria, Spain and Russia for their holidays. The most popular Turkish destinations have again become the three towns of the Mediterranean resort of Antalya; Alanya, Side and Kemer, where the hotels make up to 50 percent of cuts in their prices. The first Russian charter plane carrying tourists to Turkey since Moscow lifted travel sanctions imposed after the shooting down of a Russian jet on Nov. 24, 2015 landed in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Sept. 2, 2016. The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey increased in the final months of 2016 to around 800,000 over this year, up from almost zero, making the tourism sector very optimistic about the arrivals in 2017. January/19/2017 Source: Hurriyet Daily News