Turkey ‘needs to stimulate local tourism to recover losses’

Turkey ‘needs to stimulate local tourism to recover losses’

Turkey ‘needs to stimulate local tourism to recover losses’

DHA photo

Turkey must stimulate local tourism as local tourists make up just one-tenth of the country’s tourists in a bid to recover recent losses in the sector, according to a leading sector representative. 

“The number of local tourists is just around 4 million. This is a very low figure in Turkey’s total tourist number, which is around 40 million. We need to increase this figure to 10 million at least. If we can do this, we will not face any problems in the sector,” Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık said, as reported by Anadolu Agency. 

While the share of local tourist in Europe’s tourist market is around 25-29 percent, this figure has swung between 10-15 percent in Turkey, he noted in a meeting in Antalya on April 26. 

Ayık, who is also the deputy chairman of the United Nations World of Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members, said that the problems in the sector started to appear in August 2014 with the heating up of the Syrian crisis and the Ukraine-Russia row. 

‘Global call’ to be made in May 

“As the representatives of the Turkish tourism sector, we were very close to reaching the threshold of 40-million total tourists in 2014, but these problems hit the sector,” he said, adding that several conjectural, economic and political problems have recently affected the whole world’s tourism. 

“2016 is a year for which we should not have high hopes, but the point is to prevent any continuation of today’s problems in 2017 or 2018. If there is terror, there will be no tourism there. Many people do not want to travel now. We have seen terror threats in many places from France to Turkey and from Belgium to Spain. Under the umbrella of the UNWTO, we will hold a meeting in Spain on May 9. We will make a serious call against terror there as the UNWTO members. All countries need to develop a joint action plan regarding this issue and fight together against terror,” he said. 

Ayık noted that more than 2 billion people are projected to travel by 2035 and create around $1.8 trillion in business volume. 

“If terror attacks continue, these projections cannot be realized,” he warned.