Turkey faces 80 percent rise in cruise trip cancelations amid security concerns
AYDIN - Doğan News AgencyUp to 80 percent of cruise trips to Turkey have been canceled due to security concerns, a leading sector representative has stated.
Citing security problems in the wider region and in the country, many of the world’s leading cruise companies have withdrawn Turkish ports from their 2017 programs. Following last week’s deadly terror attack in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, Princess Cruises, which was expected to make 50 trips to ports around Turkey in 2017, has also announced that it had withdrawn Turkey from its route plan.
Erkunt Önen, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Tura Turizm, which works with many cruise ships visiting Turkey, said there was an 80 percent increase in cancellations.
“They are pulling Turkey out of their route plans, saying the tours are not being bought by customers due to the escalating security problems in Turkey. Cancellations for the next year have reached almost 80 percent compared to 2015, when the sector did not see any unusual trends. Only a few companies have remained in the market, such as Royal Caribbean, TUI Cruises, Pulman and Celestial Cruises,” Önen said.
No large cruise port in Istanbul
He also pointed to a shortage in large cruise ports in Turkey, suggesting that security issues were being used as an excuse by some companies
“Istanbul does not have a port for large ships to dock in. In order to avoid any compensation problems with their passengers because they couldn’t dock in Istanbul, some companies opted to exclude Istanbul from their programs citing security concerns. These problems need to be resolved urgently,” Önen added.
Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Aida, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Costa, Holland America Line and MSC Cruises are among the big cruise companies that have taken Turkey off their route plan in 2017, instead directing their ships to the Greek islands and Montenegro, according to sector representatives.