Turkish tourism players praise extension of public holiday for Eid al-Fitr to nine days
AA photoStruggling tourism players have gotten some relief after Turkish authorities declared a nine-day public holiday starting from July 2 for Eid al-Fitr, hoping to lure more local tourists amid a significant drop in foreign arrivals.
The holiday was planned to officially start on July 5 and end on July 7. However, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım recently signed a circular declaring that July 4 (a Monday) and July 8 (a Friday) would also be a holiday, effectively creating a nine-day public holiday including the two weekends.
Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık said the extension of the public holiday to nine days would bring a significant rise in the number of local tourists.
“We hope that our tourism facilities will reach the desired occupancy rates over the nine-day public holiday, as local tourists will now have enough time to plan their vacations,” Ayık said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency.
Sector representatives hope to earn around 500 million Turkish Liras over the course of the extended holiday.
“Although the public holiday for Eid al-Fitr was just four days last year, our sector earned revenue of around 200-250 million liras. While 180,000 people opted to take a vacation in Turkey, 20,000 went abroad. With the extension of the public holiday this year to nine days, we expect around 500 million liras in revenue,” said Tourism Investors Association of Turkey (TYD) head Murat Ersoy in a written statement.
The Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) expects a total of 250,000 locals to holiday during the extended break this year.
During Eid al-Fitr last year, the most popular domestic destinations for airplanes that took off or landed at Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports were the Aegean province of İzmir, the Mediterranean coast of Antalya and the capital city of Ankara. They were followed by Bodrum and Dalaman on the west coast, Adana in the south and Trabzon in the Black Sea region. The most popular foreign destinations were London, Tel Aviv, Paris, North Cyprus, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich and New York.
The change to this year’s holiday comes amid woes in Turkey’s tourism sector. The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey saw a 17-year plunge in April with a 28 percent decrease compared to the same month of 2015, as rising security concerns and the jet crisis with Russia hit the country’s tourism sector.
A total of 5.8 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first four months of the year, according to official data. The losses in the sector are expected to have hit $15 billion, according to sector players.
Turkey lured the highest number of foreign people from Germany in the first four months of the year with around 730,000 visitors, taking a share of around 13 percent in total visitors. Germany was followed by Georgia with around 615,000 arrivals and a 10.5 percent share in the total, and Iran, which sent 561,560 people to Turkey, taking a 9.6 percent of share in the total.