Turkey’s leading tourism associations urged the sector will have to confront a difficult year after the Sultanahmet attack, “Russian crisis” as well as security tension in the southeast.
Terror concerns hit culture, nature and faith tourism, after a suspected Islamic State (IS) linked suicide bomber has killed 10 tourists and left 15 wounded on Jan. 12, mostly German visitors.
The bomb attack followed ongoing clashes and operations in Turkey’s southeast that has caused cancellations in reservations for March, April as well as August, in Cappadocia tourism attraction point. These cancellations are feared to upsurge in the following days, according to tourism association chiefs.
Cappadocia Touristic Entrepreneurs Association (KAPTID) Head Yakup Dinler stressed the touristic area was mostly known for culture tourism, in relation with Istanbul.
“Russian crisis has put Antalya in a big trouble; but we were more relaxed as culture tourism points such as Istanbul, Capadoccia and Pamukkale. However, the blast has erupted in Istanbul’s heart, at one of the top destinations in demand. I see 2016 as a year of loss” Dinler noted.
He also reminded Germany’s travel advise, calling on citizens not to go to Turkey. “The German market is also a loss” according to KAPTID head.
“Most difficult tourism year since Gulf War”
In Turkey’s Aegean province of Çanakkale, tourism sector is thought to have been stabbed after the Sultanahmet attack, as well as terror attacks targeting civilians in Suruç and Ankara, said Çanakkale Tourism Companies, Hoteliers and Investors Association Head Kemal Pazarbaşı.
“Terror, violence and tourism are completely conflicting concepts. We are following the developments with sorrow and fear” Pazarbaşı told, underlining cancellations have been increasing every day, as international tourism networks started to show Turkey as a threatening tourism destination.
According to Pazarbaşı, following the recent terror incidents “Turkey will face the most difficult tourism year since the Gulf War”.
“Impossible to survive such crisis without government support”
Turkey’s accommodation sector has “closed 2015 with significant loss” and it is “impossible to pull through such a big crisis without the government’s incentive in 2016”, urged Antalya’s Kemer Touristic Hotelmen Association (KETOB) President Tayyar Gül.
The accommodation sector is expecting a “support package” to be announced for 2016. Tourism sector members underlined they were feared to face increasing unemployment, as wage salary has increased to 1,300 liras.
It is claimed that the existing client potential will be reduced and costs of employers will rise, while the increase of wage salary is expected to pull on additional costs.
Meanwhile, an “emergent strategy” to improve the image of tourism industry that has been tarnished recently is needed, urged Gül, reiterating “accommodation is a significant part of the sector and the tourism sector does not merely consist of agencies”.
General Manager of Kemer Arma Hotels Alper Kam also told that Antalya has attracted a significantly high number of Russian tourists reaching 2 million 800 thousand visitors, according to last year’s numbers. However, one million Russian tourists are expected to avoid Antalya as tourism destination in the new season, according to Alper Kam. Thus, alternative markets should be considered, he said.
Morocco, Tunisia, and North African countries should be considered for marketing research and potential contributions, Kam urged.