Published on : Monday, March 21, 2016
The recent terrorism risks along with the rising geopolitical tensions have caused havoc to the tourism industry in Turkey. The otherwise booming tourism industry is suffering from a string of terror attacks blamed on the Islamic State of the Kurdish militants. Moreover, the diplomatic strife with the Russian government following the November 24 downing of a Russian Su-24 jet by Turkey resulted in more losses.
According to the reports from the Turkish Statistical Institute and the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey, the number of summer bookings for 2016 is down 40% in comparison to 2015, while over hundreds of Turkish hotels have been put up for sale due to very low occupancy rates.
The tourism industry which accounts for 4% of the country’s GDP and provides employment to 7% of the working population of the country is witnessing a hard time to say the least.
In a recent statement issued, UNWTO strongly condemns the attack in Istanbul.
The Press Release states:
UNWTO is deeply shocked by the tragic attack perpetrated in Istanbul, Turkey.
On behalf of the entire international tourism community, UNWTO expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the Turkish people in this difficult moment.
“On behalf of the entire international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and expresses its full solidarity with the people and the Government of Turkey” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
“This tragic event reminds us once more that we are facing a global threat that requires a firm and coordinated response by all governments and the international community. Turkey is a leading tourism destination and we are confident it will continue to be so; it is time to stand by Turkey in facing this challenge” he added.
The tourism figures of Turkey tripled between 2001 and 2014. In 2012, Istanbul joined the world’s five best tourism destinations according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. However, the geopolitical tension between Moscow and Ankara that started after the G20 summit caused a huge cancellation from the Russian tourists. Adding fuel to the fire, the repeated terrorist attacks in Istanbul resulted in huge tensions in the global tourism market and Turkey suffered the unwanted loss.