Turkey's tourism sector tries to evade protests’ impact

Turkey's tourism sector tries to evade protests’ impact

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys tourism sector tries to evade protests’ impact

Audiences listening a panel at Istanbul International Water Forum, which hosted hundreds of foreign visitors in Haliç Congress Center, are seen in this file photo. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The scale of the disruption to the tourism sector caused by the Gezi Park protests is growing, particularly in Istanbul, as both the culture tourists and business travelers cancel their programs in the city, fearing a revival of violent clashes.

Within the first week of the demonstrations, around 50 percent of the reservations in Istanbul were cancelled, Ceylan Pirinçcioğlu, CEO of VIP tourism, one of the largest tour operators of Turkey, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“And some of them are delayed, but to October or November which is almost the same as cancellation in a financial respect,” he said.

Another prominent actor of the sector, Oktay Varlıer, said the business tourism would be the first to react to these kinds of incidents.

While leisure tourism in the city has been hit harshly, the many international congresses and meetings scheduled over the summer seem to have suffered a major impact as well.

“The authorities have been toiling to soothe concerns of organizers of large meetings that are scheduled to be held in August and September. Most of the middle-size meetings have been already cancelled,” Pirinçioğlu said.

While waiting for tension to fade away, the sector players have been seeking to persuade the anxious customers that there is no danger in the city. Pirinçcioğlu said they had begun to send updated releases to the customers and the foreign pertner firms to prevent misinformation through the media.