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TOURISM >German travelers booking in Spain, Greece instead of Turkey: Association

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Turkey’s tourism sector has kept losing its share in Germany, with German tourists opting to visit other countries such as Spain and Greece rather than Turkey, amid security concerns and recent tensions in bilateral ties, said a leading sector association on April 21. 

In a statement, the Hotels Association of Turkey (TÜROB) said the “biggest winner in this game is Spain,” while adding that there is still hope for the Turkish market if a surprising rise is seen in last-minute reservations by German travelers. 

Turkey saw a gradual rise in arrivals from Germany between 2011 and 2015 but there was a sharp decline in the number of German tourists visiting the country in 2016 due to escalating security concerns, regressing to around 3.9 million, read the statement. 

“While German bookings for the 2017 holiday season have been quite high in Spain, Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia, the Egyptian market has also seen a recent sharp demand from Germany. Unfortunately, the only loser in this market is Turkey,” said TÜROB President Timur Bayındır, while adding that hope remained for a sudden rise in last-minute reservations by German travelers for Turkey. 

“We expect a dramatic decrease in the number of arrivals from EU markets, mainly from Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy over this year due to ongoing concerns and some political tension. But a rise in demand from the Middle East, Iran and Russia is also expected in 2017,” he said. 

German travelers’ bookings for Turkey saw a 58 percent decline this year compared to the previous year, according to DRV data. 

According to TÜROB, Turkey should offer jet fuel subsidies to companies that make direct sales to travelers in the German market, dubbed “Reisebüro,” rather than to travel agencies. 

It added that the maintenance of security perceptions for Turkey was important for reviving the sector. 

TÜROB also recommended the re-launch of Turkish Airlines flights between Berlin and the Turkish capital Ankara as well as between Berlin and the Aegean resort of Dalaman, adding that Turkey should also concentrate more on struggling cruise tourism, which has become increasingly popular among German travelers.

April/21/2017

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