German travelers continue to shun Turkey this summer
FRANKFURT - Reuters
AFP photoSummer bookings to Turkey by German holidaymakers are down by more than half after a spate of bombings, with tourists instead heading to Greece and Egypt, according to German market researcher GfK.
Tourism, which adds about $30 billion to Turkey’s gross domestic product each year, has been hammered by attacks blamed on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that have scared away tourists over the past year.
Summer bookings from Germany were down 58 percent at the end of January from a year ago.
“Greece is clearly benefiting from that, and Egypt as well,” Doerte Nordbeck, head of Travel Logistics Germany at GfK, told journalists at a news conference ahead of the world’s biggest travel fair in Berlin next week.
Germans’ summer bookings for Greece were 67 percent higher than a year ago by the end of January, and the country has now replaced Turkey as Germans’ second-most popular holiday destination after the Balearic islands, she said, citing booking data from travel agencies and online portals.
Tour operator TUI had said in January that it had added around 40 percent more capacity on the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes and Kos to meet demand.
GfK said bookings for Egypt were up 91 percent from last year, but were still down 23 percent from before the 2011 uprising.
Norbert Fiebig, president of German travel association DRV said hotels in Turkey were responding by slashing their prices, while chains in Spain and Greece were taking advantage of rising demand to increase rates.
Booking portal Holidaycheck said this week that German bookings had shown hotel prices in Turkey were down 12 percent from a year ago and those in Egypt were still down by 8 percent. Prices in Greece were 5 percent higher than last year, it said.
With Germans booking earlier this year, DRV expects Germans’ spending on travel bookings to grow moderately, after increasing by 2 percent to 59.8 billion euros ($63 billion), excluding expenses made during their trips, in 2016.
Germany is the world’s third-largest spender on foreign travel behind China and the United States.