Turkish tourist arrivals plummet 40 percent in June, biggest drop in 22 years
REUTERS photoThe number of foreign visitors to Turkey plummeted more than 40 percent in June, official data showed on July 28, marking the biggest drop in at least 22 years, as tensions with Russia and a series of deadly bombings kept tourists away.
Tourist arrivals fell 40.86 percent year-on-year in June, with just 2.44 million people arriving during the month, data from the Tourism Ministry showed.
It was the biggest drop on record, according to the data, which goes back to 1994.
The previous record was set in May, when tourist arrivals fell 34.7 percent.
Tourism has been hit hard by tensions with Moscow after Turkey shot down a Russian jet over Syria last year.
While Ankara and Moscow have recently started to rebuild ties, tourist arrivals from Russia dropped 87 percent in the first six months of the year, the data showed.
Separately, British travel company Thomas Cook cut its full-year profit target on July 28 as the Brexit-induced collapse in the pound, attacks in Europe and a failed coup in Turkey forced customers to change holiday plans.
Travel groups such as Thomas Cook and TUI and airlines including easyJet, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have all been hit by the recent events.
Thomas Cook, which has been particularly affected by the problems in the previously popular destination of Turkey, said it expected to report operating profit for its full-year of 300 million pounds ($395 million), compared with the forecast given in May of between 310 million and 335 million pounds.
Underlying operating profit in the third quarter fell 93 percent to 2 million pounds, from 30 million pounds a year ago.
Despite the lowered outlook and fall in profit for the period, shares in Thomas Cook recovered from an initial 1.7 percent decline to trade 5.5 percent higher at 0710 GMT.
“We are operating in a challenging geopolitical environment, with repeated disruption in some of our key source and destination markets,” Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser said. “In addition, while Brexit has had no noticeable impact on our bookings so far, it has added to a general sense of uncertainty – for our business and our customers alike.”
Thomas Cook has shifted airline seats from Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt to the Canaries, Balearics and mainland Spain where it has found extra hotel rooms, but it has not been enough to compensate.
“Since the half year, we’ve taken action to further reduce our capacity to Turkey and increased sales of holidays to other areas, including the Western Mediterranean and long-haul destinations such as the U.S.A.,” Fankhauser said. “Growth to smaller destinations such as Bulgaria and Cuba is also strong.”
Meanwhile, AccorHotels predicted on July 27 that its operating profit would rise further this year as Europe’s largest hotel group reaps the fruits of its restructuring and gets a boost from the acquisition of luxury hotel group FRHI Holdings.
The world’s fifth-largest hotel group, however, expressed caution about the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and attacks in France and Germany, saying the situation in Turkey was “still difficult to measure.”