Turkey to offer subsidies to cruise ships to prop up tourism
Turkey will offer subsidies to A-group tourism operators of cruise ships bringing foreign tourists into the country in a bid to bolster visitor numbers which have fallen sharply due to a series of bomb attacks of 2016.
An amount of $30 will be provided per tourist for cruise ships with the capacity of 750 passengers or more until Dec. 31, according to a cabinet decision released on the Official Gazette on Sept. 26.
Tour operators need to present documents which show they carry tourists via cruise ships to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, according to the decision.
Turkey’s cruise tourism was hit severely due to escalating security concerns in 2016. Many leading cruise companies announced that they would leave Turkey out of their 2017 travel plans.
While more than 1.8 million cruise tourists visited or transited through Turkish ports by 1,456 ships in 2015, the number of passengers declined to 628,000, who were carried by 590 ships, in 2016, according to data from the General Directorate of Maritime Trade.
Some 213,216 tourists visited Turkish ports in 2017 by 224 cruise ships.
While the total number of travelers has hit 1.6 billion across the world, only 24 million of them travel by cruise ship, but the development rate in the cruising sector in the last five years was four times higher than any other sector, according to sector reports.