Turkish tourism minister does not see ‘severe trauma’ in sector
DHA photoTurkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal said he does not see “severe trauma” in the sector, adding it will overcome the current “turbulence,” in a televised interview on Feb. 27.
“While the tourism sector will see turbulent days for a while, I believe we will overcome this turbulence. I do not see severe trauma [in the sector],” he said on Turkish news channel NTV.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced an action plan on Feb. 22 to support Turkey’s tourism sector, which has been negatively affected recently by tensions with Russia and security concerns.
The support package included a 255-million-Turkish-Lira ($87 million) grant and several mechanisms which will enable tourism firms to restructure their debts.
Ünal noted that some measures in a recent cabinet package to revive the tourism sector have become effective, while underlining that terror was a global problem.
Terror ‘a global problem’
“Terror attacks can happen anywhere in the world, as this is a global problem. Some terror attacks unfortunately happened in Istanbul and Ankara. We should not grasp any negative perception about Turkey locally or globally which prevent the spread of fears and concerns,” he said.
Ünal said the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has announced security threats for potential tourists who plan to visit Turkey via several websites.
“We have started a global campaign in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the EU Ministry and others to launch the required incentives, to seek new markets and to diversify the sector. The sector may face turbulence for a short while, but we will leave these turbulent days behind in a safe and secure way,” he said.
Ünal added the tourism support package has created a positive outlook and boosted morale across the sector.
Ünal said Turkey has one of the best tourism infrastructures of the world and signaled new steps to help different types of tourism flourish, such as winter tourism.
“Turkey’s winter tourism infrastructure has a solid infrastructure which is also open to new updates, including Uludağ in Bursa, Erciyes in Kayseri and Palandöken in Erzurum. We will be announcing new projects to foster this kind of tourism in the coming days,” he said.
Based on figures from 2014, tourism finances more than half of Turkey’s current account deficit, which is seen as one of the country’s biggest economic weaknesses. In 2015 as a whole, tourism revenues fell 8.3 percent, reaching $31.46 billion amid a decrease in the number of Russian and European tourists.