Turkey’s tourism revenue sees steepest plunge in second quarter since 1999
REUTERS photoTurkey’s tourism revenue fell 35.6 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2015, to $5 billion, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on July 29. This was the steepest decline since 1999, due to rising security concerns and the dramatic decline in the number of Russians visiting Turkey.
Turkey’s tourism revenue regressed to $9 billion in the first half of the year from $12.6 billion in the same period of 2015, according to official data.
The number of foreigners visiting Turkey plummeted more than 40 percent in June, official data showed on July 28, marking the biggest drop in at least 22 years, as tensions with Russia and a series of deadly bombings kept tourists away.
Although the strained ties with Russia were expected to recover soon, the impact of this will be limited on the struggling tourism sector, analysts told Reuters.
Analysts expected at least $5 billion in losses to annual tourism revenue over this year, pushing down the gross domestic product by more than 0.5 percent.
BCG Partners Chief Economist Özgür Altuğ said that the plunge in tourism revenue was more severe than the decline in the number of tourists visiting Turkey.
“This has mainly showed that relatively wealthier tourists avoided [visiting] the country… The failed coup attempt will not help the sector,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
He noted that there were strong signals about improving ties between Turkey and Russia, but it might be late for the sector to recover some of its losses this year.
“This development will however raise hope for the upcoming season. We are still expecting that Turkey’s tourism revenue would fall around 27 percent over this year,” added Altuğ.
While Ankara and Moscow have recently started to rebuild ties, tourist arrivals from Russia dropped 87 percent in the first six months of the year, the data showed.
Separately, British travel company Thomas Cook cut its full-year profit target on July 28, as the Brexit-induced collapse in the pound, attacks in Europe and a failed coup in Turkey forced customers to change holiday plans.
Travel groups such as Thomas Cook and TUI and airlines including EasyJet, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, have all been hit by the recent events.