Turkey needs to tell Europe ‘life is normal inside,’ says leading tourism representative
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkey must convey to Europeans that life is flowing normally within the country if it hopes to recover losses in the its tourism sector, the head of a leading travel agency has said, while also praising the latest steps to normalize ties between Turkey and Russia.
“Europeans must be told life is normal in Turkey, as any negative comment about Turkey abroad directly hits the country’s tourism sector,” said Quality Travel Alliance (QTA) and RTK Group President Thomas Bösl.
“I believe one of the biggest deficiencies of Turkey’s tourism sector is that the sector has worked only with tour operators for years rather than offering support to travel agencies, which make face-to-face sales to potential European tourists and tell the details of tourism destinations directly, in its regulations. This is a huge problem… the only country which does not directly work with travel agencies is Turkey,” he said in a joint meeting with the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) in Istanbul late Aug. 10.
He also noted that there was a loss of around 40 percent in tourism revenue from its German market, although the number of arrivals from Germany to Turkey did not see a dramatic decline.
“This was mainly due to a series of bomb attacks in Turkey during a time when wealthier Germans made early reservations,” noted Bösl, who also praised the normalization in Turkish-Russian relations as a significant constant to strengthen their hands in the European market.
“Travel agencies shape the market. The return of Russians to the Turkish market will strengthen our hands in Europe as Turkey’s tourism sector has started to normalize again. This will boost our sales,” he added.
Bösl also said hotel services and infrastructure in Turkey were very good, much better than their European counterparts, according to feedback from their customers.
TÜRSAB President Başaran Ulusoy said the country and the sector have been experiencing turbulence, however indicating the tough times would pass.
“2017 may be our golden year. There was a coup attempt on July 15, yet we all continued with our normal lives on the following day,” he said.
TÜRSAB Foreign Operations Representative Hüseyin Baraner said that the number of foreign arrivals will increase dramatically next year, mainly thanks to the popularity of Turkish hotels among children and their mothers.
“Turkey is very popular among this group due to high standards of hygiene and service in its hotels. Almost one-fourth of 12 million tourists visiting the Mediterranean resort of Antalya in previous years were children under the age of 12,” he said.
The TÜRSAB representatives also said that the German Travel Association (DRV) Congress will be held in the Aegean district of Kuşadası in October, as was previously planned.