The Turkey tourism encounters yet another season of loss

Published on : Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The tourism industry of Turkey encounters yet another season of loss after the rise of coronavirus that wiped out many international bookings and prompted Russia to stop flights; the country is one of the top sources for visitors, and exercised warning against traveling to Turkey this summer.


The President, Tayyip Erdogan, in a last-ditch move to stop infections and save the season, imposed a lockdown last week all through mid May, he said. This step was taken so that European countries do not leave Turkey as the country re-opens its beaches, restaurants and travel in the coming days.


The cash that international tourists spend is critical to counterbalance the heavy foreign debt of Turkey. In 2020, revenues dropped 65% when the pandemic hit the world for the first time.


The tourism minister explained that 30 million international tourists could arrive in 2021, twice as many as last, if the lockdown turns out to be a success in decreasing the daily infection cases to below 5,000 from near 30,000 in recent days.


However, travel agents, associations and hotels have explained that they are afraid that 2021 will be slightly improved than 2020 after the virus briefly ranked Turkey second internationally in new cases just as the tourist season started off, before it dropped back to fourth.


Some Turkish and Russian agents predict tough months until August, in regard to the hot spots and historic sites in Mediterranean and Aegean and elsewhere could fill up again. Much will depend on last-minute bookings, they said.
“The lockdown decision will probably not be able to save the season” because it was taken too late, said Cem Polatoglu, general manager at Istanbul-based Andiamo Tour.


Even if the lockdown by the end of May helps in decreasing the daily infection cases to below 5,000, as the government expects he said that countries take time to remove travel warnings “which means probably losing July too”.


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