Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati has stated that Russian tourists, who may have problems using credit cards due to financial sanctions, will be able to use their country's payment system MIR in Turkey, Yeni Shafak has reported.
In response to questions from the press before the April 26 cabinet meeting, Nebati emphasized that with the start of the tourism season, Russian tourists would not face any difficulties in spending due to VISA and Mastercard restrictions, the report added.
Nebati's remarks will assuage tourism experts' concerns about a drop in tourist numbers as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The minister underlined that apart from VISA and Mastercard, there are payment systems such as MIR and TROY, which will facilitate the payment in Turkey.
“They [Russian tourists] cannot use TROY abroad, but the MIR card is used very well and it is convenient. They will not have any problems with using the MIR card," Nebati stressed.
According to Nebati, the percentage of MIR card usage in Turkish enterprises is approximately 15 percent, and banks are working to increase this figure.
Sharing his expectations for this year's tourism season, Nebati said: “Our expectations regarding tourism are very good. I believe that we will exceed our target of 45 million tourists and 35 billion dollars in tourism. Expenditures are increasing; incoming people are staying long. There are hotels that have been fully reserved for 2-3 months at the moment."
Turkey, like many other nations, sees 2022 as a fresh start following the pandemic. As a result, the appropriate authorities are preparing a significant infrastructure for visitors arriving from regions such as Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.
While the situation in neighboring countries such as Russia and Ukraine is being closely monitored, adequate preparations are being made to avoid any complications throughout the season. In many countries, 2022 is regarded as the year of normalization for the tourism industry following the pandemic.
Turkey, which hosted 4.5 million Russian tourists last year despite the pandemic conditions, is taking all possible precautions to avoid any surprises in the 2022 season. As a part of the process, financial solutions are also developed in addition to agency activities to meet the demand of Russian tourists.
Turkey is continuing to play a mediating role between Russia and Ukraine in order to resolve the ongoing conflict peacefully. It made a substantial contribution to the progress of the Russia-Ukraine peace talks by setting up a negotiation table in Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace in late March.