TOURISM >Antalya eyes Madonna and Justin Bieber to revive tourism amid Russia crisis

ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency

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Madonna (L) AFP Photo

Madonna (L) AFP Photo

International celebrities like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber could be invited to perform in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya as part of EXPO 2016 in a bid to revive the region’s daunting tourism sector, as well as lure interest from target markets, Antalya’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO) head Davut Çetin suggested in a report to the Tourism Ministry. 

The report, titled “The Impact of the Russian Sanctions on Antalya’s Economy and Measures Needed,” was developed at a time when the city, Turkey’s top holiday spot for both national and international tourists, faces serious financial problems following the Russian sanctions that came after the Nov. 24, 2015, jet crisis between the two countries.  

“EXPO 2016, which will start in the city on April 23, should be turned into a big tourism push, for instance by organizing big concerts by international celebrities, such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez or Justin Bieber, to attract the interest of target markets,” said the report, which includes a total of 10 policy recommendations to revive the sector.

Some measures like massive PR work, active marketing methods and campaigns during the foreign holiday seasons as well as triggered searches for new markets like China and India were also offered in the report.   

Russia has been the second largest source of foreign tourists for Turkey. Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal earlier said the sector has unavoidably been affected negatively with the Russian crisis as well as regional uncertainties. He expects a loss of around 4.5 million Russian tourists this year. 

“The upcoming days are quite crucial for us, but we have big leverage, which is the planned EXPO meeting in Antalya. We can recover our losses in the Russian market, around 4.5 million tourists, through this organization,” Ünal said in January. 

Regarding the impact of the crisis on the tourism sector, the ATSO report also included four scenarios, saying that as Antalya has a huge share in Turkey’s tourism sector, the crisis can also affect the Turkish economy. In the worst scenario, Turkey’s revenue loss has been estimated to be around $8-9 billion.

Russia has also been the largest importer of the Antalya region’s vegetables and fruits, making the province vulnerable to the sanctions. 

The report, which included the impacts of the crisis in the agriculture sector and the housing sector, asked for further preventive and supportive measures to be taken quickly so that the Russia crisis does not turn into an Antalya crisis.

“Russians also buy one-fourth of the 60,000 properties sold to foreigners in Antalya, so the sanctions can affect the housing sector too. It is not only one or two sectors that are under risk, all types of economy including industry, trade and service sectors can be affected,” the report read, highlighting that the effects of the sanctions could be more significant than what was currently foreseen.


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