German pensioners should spend winter in Turkey, says business group head
German pensioners may spend winter in Turkey, Tunisia or Mallorca in Spain in the face of the looming energy problem, Marija Linnhoff, chairperson of the travel agency association VUSR in Germany, has proposed.
“That way the industry can save gas. The German government can provide 500 euros in subsidies for each person who would take such trips in the warmer Mediterranean countries,” Linhooff told a local German newspaper.
The proposals stirred a debate among German politicians.
“This is a typical crazy idea and definitely cannot contribute to solving the energy challenges we are facing,” said Ralf Stegner from the SPD.
Andreas Pinkwart, economic affairs minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, warned that if many people leave the country, this outflux will reduce consumption and have an adverse impact on the economy.
The proposal would mean additional 10 billion euros of borrowing, said Jana Schimke from the CDU.
People from the Turkish tourism industry said that Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, and the resort towns around this province are very popular among German tourists.
They noted that a large number of German tourists visited Turkey before the pandemic and that German holidaymakers will play a key role in the revival of the local tourism industry in the post-COVID period.
As many as 5 million Germans visited Turkey in 2013 and a record 5.5 million German holidaymakers came to the country in 2015. German tourist arrivals, however, declined to 3.8 million in 2016. Turkey attracted 4.5 million and 5 million Germans in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
In 2020, when the pandemic broke out, only 1.1 million Germans visited the country, but their numbers bounced back to 3 million last year as COVID-related restrictions were eased.