Turkish hoteliers see significant loss in number of European tourists

Turkish hoteliers see significant loss in number of European tourists

Turkish hoteliers see significant loss in number of European tourists

AA photo

The Hoteliers Association of Turkey (TÜROB) has said the association expected a significant loss in the number of European tourists, mainly from Germany this year, adding that many reservations and organizations have already canceled due to security concerns. 

The number of reservation cancelations from the German market has been around 40 percent, it said on April 4, as Reuters reported. 

The latest terror attacks in Turkey have created a big security concern for European tourists, so a significant loss in the number of foreign arrivals to Turkey from Germany, France, Spain and Italy is expected over this year, said TÜROB. 

German travelers’ bookings for summer holidays in Turkey have dropped around 40 percent compared to a year ago, reflecting tourists’ concern over security, German travel association DRV said in March. A meeting of around 600 tour agencies, which was scheduled to be held in the Aegean resort of Kuşadası in April, was canceled. 

According to the TÜROB statement, many planned reservations and business events were canceled in Istanbul as well as other provinces especially after the terror attack on İstiklal Street in central Istanbul. 

A bomb attack killed at least four foreign nationals in central Istanbul on March 19. 

The TÜROB report said last minute reservations will play great role in Turkey’s largest tourist market, Germany. 

The number of German tourists visiting Turkey increased 6 percent last year to 5.58 million compared to the previous year. Some 252,000 German tourists visited Turkey in the first two months of the year with around 6 percent of decline compared to the same period of 2015. 

A significant loss in the Russian market is also expected over this year amid the jet crisis between Turkey and Russia, warned the report. A rise in the number of arrivals from Iran and the Middle Eastern countries is expected. 

According to the report, European tourists are expected to flock to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia and France rather than the destinations in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa due to escalating security concerns. 

The number of foreign visitors coming to Turkey tumbled 10 percent in February, the biggest drop in a decade, data released by the Tourism Ministry showed on March 29, as widening security concerns continue to eat into a major source of revenue for the Turkish economy.

The decline was the biggest since October 2006. Yet several reports have underlined that last-minute reservations may hike tourist numbers significantly. 

Rise in reservations expected soon

Meanwhile, Turkish Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal has denied to have said he “[expects] a 20 percent loss in tourist numbers,” on Twitter on April 5.  

Ünal was reported on several media outlets to have optimistically suggested that Turkey would manage to close this year’s tourism season only with 20 percent loss amid rising security concerns and a significant decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey. 

“Some words of which I was claimed to have said about an expected loss of 20 percent in tourism numbers this season do not show the truth,” he tweeted.

Ünal said travelers’ bookings for summer holidays in Turkey will start again by the end of April, in a speech at parliament on April 4.