A growing number of retailers in Istanbul’s leading shopping districts such as Osmanbey, Laleli and Zeytinburnu say the increased number of Russian tourists visiting the city is behind a significant increase in sales.

Many firms trading with Russia saw a 100% increase in their production in the last few months, and Istanbul Leather and Leather Products Exporters Association (İDMİB) chairman Mustafa Şenocak said that export values of leather increased to $100 million from $60 million. Leather is the product that Russians buy the most in Turkey.

Political relations between Turkey and Russia fell to historic lows in 2015, in part driven by the Syrian crisis next door. However, a thawing of attitudes has seen more Russians holidaying in the country and particularly visiting Istanbul to shop.

As a result, the share of Russian tourists as part of the total market of foreigners increased to 30% from 5%, Textile Finishing Industrialists Association of Turkey (TTTSD) Chairman Vehbi Canpolat told Turkish daily Dünya. He said this figure should rise to 50% within six months.