Turkish tourism players to German travelers: ‘Forget politics, we welcome you all’
ANTALYA/BERLINRepresentatives from Turkey’s struggling tourism sector have called for German travelers to visit Turkey at a key annual sector event in Berlin, delivering a message saying: “We have no business with politics. We welcome you all!”
The message was given at ITB Berlin, which is being held on March 8-12, amid rising tension between Ankara and Berlin over Turkish ministers’ canceled meetings in Germany and jailed German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel.
At the fair, the Mediterranean resort of Antalya was afforded 1,000 square meters of floor space, out of Turkey’s total 3,079 square meters, Doğan News Agency reported.
Antalya Governor Münir Karaoğlu said that despite the recent plunge in tourist numbers, “nothing has changed” in Antalya in terms of service quality or security conditions.
“Antalya is still just as you liked it. Nothing has changed. The city is still safe, and has services and human resources with good quality. Keep coming to visit Antalya,” Karaoğlu said, adding that Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K. and Scandinavian countries are all of great significance for tourism in Antalya.
Another sector representative said Antalya and all its districts are ready to host their visitors.
“We have seen hope and have been working to realize this hope for the best. Antalya has a good background and is a brand in world tourism. We will continue our job, unrelated to any political events. Nothing bad has happened in Antalya and we are waiting for our visitors,” said Tayfun Turanlıoğlu, the head of the Kundu Tourism Investors’ Association (KUYAB) and the chief of WOW Hotels.
Konyaaltı Mayor Muhittin Böcek said Turkey and Germany would overcome the current political distress “as long-time friends.”
“Just as our ties with Russia have started to normalize, our problems with Germany will be resolved. We have a special tie with Germany. There are many Turkish businesspeople and Turks living in Germany. We have many German friends who live in Antalya. We have always favored peace and we believe our friendship with Germany would again rise after the recent crisis,” Böcek added.
Sector players believe that Turkey could see a 30-35 percent increase in foreign arrivals in 2017 compared to last year, so long as there is no drop in the European market and Ankara’s ties with Moscow continue to normalize.
They also noted that they had seen great reactions at the fair from German and other European travelers.