Tourism players call for focus on Turkey’s ‘support for democracy’ abroad
Burak Coşan - ISTANBUL
REUTERS photoTurkish authorities must explain how Turkish people embraced democracy and resisted the July 15 coup plotters in global promotional campaigns to counter the negative image of the country, Turkish tourism representatives have said.
Representatives of the tourism sector, which has already been struggling for the last two years due to the Russian crisis, escalating security concerns and rising risks in the region, are now asking authorities for a comprehensive promotional campaign abroad in a bid to minimize further expected losses after the failed coup attempt and the resulting three-month state of emergency.
“Turkey has seen the worst problems for the last two years almost since the establishment of the republic. Although the Turkish people embraced democracy after the coup attempt, many foreign media outlets have told a quite different story. We need to emphasize how the Turkish people and cabinet have embraced the democratic rule in our global promotional campaigns. We need to show that the state of emergency was declared to secure the freedoms of people rather than limiting them,” said the head of the Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), Osman Ayık.
The drops in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country and the sector revenue are not surprising despite the collaborative works between the state and the sector to recover losses, according to Ayık.
“It is all in our hands to recover these losses. While almost all tour operators which make business with us have backed our country, many foreign politicians have adopted a negative attitude against us. We need to destroy this perception and reconstruct a fresh and positive one,” he added.
The head of the Travel Agencies Association of Turkey (TÜRSAB), Başaran Ulusoy, noted that Turkey had passed a difficult exam.
“Turkey will pass this with success. Some circles which work against Turkey have also hit our sector, jeopardizing our bread and butter. They cannot touch our democracy and freedom, though. It is now the time for us to take back our life. We will do this by relating the spectacular resistance by the Turkish people against the coup attempt,” he said.