Turkey’s battered tourism sector praises 9-day Eid al-Adha holiday, Russian charter flights

Turkey’s battered tourism sector praises 9-day Eid al-Adha holiday, Russian charter flights

Turkey’s battered tourism sector praises 9-day Eid al-Adha holiday, Russian charter flights

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Turkey’s tourism sector, which has been struggling over this season due to several factors, has praised the extension of the public holiday for Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) to nine days as well as the resumption of charter flights from the Russian market, noting that hotel occupancy rates in some resorts may hit 100 percent. 

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım signed a document on Aug. 27, declaring the nine-day public holiday starting from Sept. 12 for Eid al-Adha. According to the document, all public employees will be granted administrative leave for a full day on Friday, Sept. 16, after the last day of Eid al-Adha, which celebrates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God. It officially extends the religious holiday to nine days, including the preceding and following weekends.

The head of the Travel Agencies Association of Turkey (TÜRSAB), Başaran Ulusoy, said that around 700,000 people were expected to go on vacation during the Eid holiday. 

“They will likely prefer the warmest destinations, including the Mediterranean resorts of Antalya, Cyprus and Fethiye as well as the Aegean resort of Bodrum,” he noted, as quoted by daily Hürriyet on Aug. 29. 

He noted that the sector, which has been struggling for the last two years due to the Russian crisis, escalating security concerns and rising risks in the region as well as the July 15 failed coup attempt, will have a sigh relief during the public holiday. 

According to the head of the Aegean Touristic Hotels Association (ETİK), Mehmet İşler, the number of local tourists visiting Aegean resorts will hit 5 million. 

“We expect the hotel occupancy rates to reach 100 percent in the most popular Aegean coasts over the public holiday,” he said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency on Aug. 28. 

Russia effect

Russia’s move to end the ban on charter flights to Turkey has also been highly praised by Turkish tourism representatives, as they believed that they could recover some 15 percent of their losses in the Russian market after the flights begin. 

The spokesperson of the Tour Operators Platform, Cem Polatoğlu, said the move mattered greatly, although the hot tourism season was about to end. 

“Around 200,000 Russian tourists are estimated to have visited Turkey through the scheduled flights, which had already resumed… This figure may reach 700,000 after the charter flights restart,” he said, as quoted by the state-run agency on Aug. 28. 

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree that lifted the ban on charter air transportation between Russia and Turkey on Aug. 28, after months of strained ties.