Tours to Middle East fall due to instability

Tours to Middle East fall due to instability

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Tours to Middle East fall due to instability

The outgoing tours from Turkey to the Middle Eastern countries decrease in this Ramadan holiday. AFP photo

Turkish people are showing less interest in foreign tours during the Ramadan holiday this year, particularly because of the instability in Middle Eastern countries off the coast of Mediterranean Sea, a sector professional has said.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people are expected to go abroad via tourism agencies during the Ramadan holiday, marking a drop compared to recent years, when the number went up to 200,000, Cem Polatoğlu, the spokesman of the Platform of Tour Operators, told the Daily News in a telephone interview on Aug. 2.

“There is a 35 percent fall in outgoing tours this Ramadan holiday from the same period last year,” Polatoğlu said, citing data provided by the platform, adding that the main reasons were that the instability in Arab countries off the coast of Mediterranean Sea and the Turkish Liras’ drop in value against foreign currencies.

Polatoğlu stated that a decrease in foreign tours through Middle Eastern countries had first been observed after the Arab Spring in 2011. However, tours to Egypt had seen a rise among Turkish tourists before the recent coup d’etat, which completely halted trips there. “Before the Arab Spring, around 40,000 visitors from Turkey went to Egypt in the festive holiday season. But this number has decreased to zero,” he said.

Trips by Turks to the United States and the Far East are continuing at the same level as last year, but there has been a 5 to 10 percent drop in European trips, Polatoğlu added.

The increase in the price of foreign exchange has also negatively affected the foreign tour sales of travel agencies, he said.