Instability in Turkey will be devastating for the country’s tourism sector as travellers choose destinations deemed more safe.
So says Euromonitor International’s travel project manager, Nadejda Popova, who was speaking after the attempted coup took place in Istanbul last week.
“The recent political events in Turkey will be catastrophic for its travel industry,” she said.
“Several terrorist attacks, failed political coup as well as the collapse of the Turkey – Russia relations will be detrimental for the recovery of its tourism industry.
“The fear factor amongst tourists and high level of uncertainty are expected to shift the interest of travellers from Turkey to other destinations, which will now also include travel away from Europe.”
In 2015, Turkey received 34.7 million international arrivals in terms of number of trips however, this performance is expected to be heavily impacted by the events in 2016.
According to the latest UNWTO Barometer, international arrivals to Turkey declined 10% in Q1 2016 and this performance will be further aggravated by the recent events.
“Terrorism attacks and general instability are changing the perceptions among travellers in terms of how safe the country is as a travel destination,” Popova continued. “This could continue in the mid- to long-term if adequate security measures are not taken by the Turkish government.
“Short term, the market will suffer direly from those events, but with the right approach by the government, proving the strengthened security and reassuring tourists, it could recover faster than we can now foresee.
“However as this is not the first incident in the country this year these events will cause a much longer term impact on the industry. As seen from [other] examples in the Middle East such as Tunisia, one isolated attack cannot cripple the entire industry, but repetitive attacks will definitely prevent the development of the tourism industry”
In Europe, big travel players such as Tui and Thomas Cook are already reporting a significant decline in bookings to Turkey, which Popova said were down more than 35%.
“This, of course, showcases that demand is very low and travellers are shifting their holiday plans to other destinations,” she concluded.