ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
The kidnapping of three German tourists from Mount Ağrı and a deadly attack against the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul have created concern about potential harm to the country's tourism industry. A travel warning against Turkey's eastern and southeastern regions issued by German and British authorities has exacerbated concern.
�Such events can be seen in almost every part of the world,� said Cengiz Yücel, the research and development director for the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, or TURSAB. Noting that the travel risk in Turkey is not that great compared to many other places, Yücel said that a person could be in danger even in his or her home country.
�We have heard that reservation cancellations have been pretty low,� said Yücel, emphasizing that reactions to recent developments from European countries are not as harsh as they would have been a decade ago. �Thanks to their high capacity, some places, including Antalya, will be affected less,� noted Yücel. �A tourism crisis would arise if big tour operators cancel their reservations. Otherwise, the sector will continue to grow.�
Tourism revenues increased by 28.4 percent and reached $2.7 billion in the first quarter of the year compared to the corresponding period last year, according to Turkish Statistics Institute, or TÜİK, figures. �We do not foresee any decline in our targeted profits,� said Çiğdem Dinç, business development manager of Tantur Tourism, a Germany-based travel agency. �Our aim is to attract 1.65 million tourists this year, and there is no sign of failure yet.�
Asked to comment on the British and German travel warnings, Dinç told the Turkish Daily News that industry members were not pessimistic, as there had been no reservation cancellations thus far.
Osman Ayık, chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hotels Association, or AKTOB, said he shares a similar optimism. �I do not think these disturbances will result in a tourism crisis,� he said. �Almost all reservations from German travel agencies were sold out at the beginning of the summer.� Ayık added there was no expectation that Turkish tourism would suffer after these events.
Another important figure in the tourism sector, Timur Bayındır, head of the Touristic Hotels and Investors Association, or TUROB, is also optimistic. �We have to assess these events at a global scale,� said Bayındır. �Of course, it would be much better if there would be no such events,� he concluded.