Tourism representatives eye extensions in incentives to lure more tourists

Tourism representatives eye extensions in incentives to lure more tourists

ANTALYA – Anadolu Agency
Tourism representatives eye extensions in incentives to lure more tourists

Tourism representatives welcome the government’s new measures to lure more tourists, but they say the sector needs more to flourish amid regional problems. DHA photo

Tourism representatives have welcomed the government’s new incentives for tour operators and airlines, but have added that additional steps need to be taken.

The government is planning new incentives for tour operators and airlines as part of measures to boost tourism income amid problems in neighboring countries, particularly the economic crisis in Russia and the depreciation of the ruble.

The related ministries held a special meeting on the issue last week, due to concerns about the drop in early bookings, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Feb. 3, unveiling a raft of new measures.

As part of the new measures, Turkey will grant $6,000 to all passenger planes from Russia and Iran for the next two months as contribution to their fuel spending, Davutoğlu said.

“This will prevent the cancelation of flights,” Davutoğlu said, adding that this would also ease the burden for tour operators.

These measures are important for the sector, said head of Turkey’s Hoteliers’ Federation (TÜROFED) Osman Ayık.

“The timing of the measures is also good, as sales will be made extensively in the coming months. Fuel contribution may play a big role in the sector, but this measure should be available in a year and should cover the whole European market, as well as the Russian market,” Ayık said.

Ayık noted he did not know the details of the incentive package, adding that there should also be incentives for the accommodation sector.

Head of the Touristic Hoteliers Association of the Mediterranean (AKTOB) Yusuf Hacısüleyman also said the incentives should continue over the whole year.

Fuel contributions should be given per flight and per capita, he said, adding that otherwise smaller airlines would benefit more than others.

“These measures are good, but they are not enough. We need to be very active in the coming months, during which tourism reservations will be made. We need more than fuel contributions. The accommodation sector should also be supported by several tax advantages and subsidies, because a difficult year is ahead for us as the representatives of the sector,” said head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD) Ali Kızıldağ.

The most important of all, serious work is needed in marketing and image building in the sector, he said.