Gezi Park protests ‘hit’ Grand Bazaar’s stores

Gezi Park protests ‘hit’ Grand Bazaar’s stores

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Gezi Park protests ‘hit’ Grand Bazaar’s stores

The Grand Bazaar, one of Istanbul’s most popular touristic places, is currently working at 30 percent capacity. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

The Grand Bazaar, one of the most touristic shopping places in Istanbul, has felt the effects of the ongoing unrest, as Istanbul is no longer seen as an attractive place for tourists, who have been cancelling their hotel reservations due to the Gezi Park protests and harsh police action in the city.

“The Grand Bazaar is currently working at 30 percent capacity,” Hasan Fırat, the president of the Grand Bazaar Craftsmen Association, said in a telephone interview with Daily News yesterday.

Fırat stated that around 90 percent of their customers are foreigners, and that the stall holders were suffering losses as tourists were canceling their hotel reservations or chose not to come to Istanbul.
“The tourists want peace,” Fırat said, adding that “Even if the protests end today, no tourists will come to Istanbul for a month. We don’t want any shops to shut down. Because of this, we are making our calculations considering that this situation will last for at least one month.”

“The media reported that the craftsmen attended sit-in protests, but they did not. We want these protests to end,” he said.

Layoff risk

Meanwhile, in a press release yesterday, the Turkish Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB) highlighted that if the unrest lasted much longer it would have a negative effect on employment figures. They anticipated that the layoffs would increase and the recruitments would be postponed in the tourism sector, “which contributed added-value to more than 50 sectors.”

TUROB said this was one of the tourism sector’s worst periods. Almost 60 percent of hotel reservations had been canceled during the protests, which began on May 31, along with the cancelation of many national and international congress, fair and events, it said.

As the center of the incidents was Istanbul, the hotels and the other services fields suffered losses, Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) President Osman Ayık said in a telephone interview with the Daily News yesterday. Other coastal cities have not seen such considerable reservation cancelations, but requests for future bookings are slowing down, he added.

TUROB stated that the tourism sector was the sector most vulnerable to any kind of negativeness and the peace atmosphere was very important for it. They said it was necessary and important that the protestors and the government should be more understanding to end the protests.