Destinations

Terror toll on Turkey’s tourism

Amy Bryant

Turkey’s tourism has dropped more than 20 percent in the wake of a spate of terrorist attacks and ongoing civil conflict.

Tourists usually flock to the sunbaked Mediterranean country to experience its stunning beaches, ancient architecture, exciting nightlife, and rich cultural history and events.

The nation’s capital, Istanbul, known for its bustling bazaars and busy culinary establishments, is now fast becoming a ghost town.

Khan al-Khalili Bazaar

Tourism makes up 12% of the country’s GDP and is crucial to its economy.

However, it’s been suffering at the hands of recent terrorist attacks and outbreaks of  violent civil unrest, as foreigners begin shunning it as a holiday destination amidst safety and security concerns.

According to the tourism ministry, overseas travellers to Turkey fell by 21.3 percent in November 2016 compared to the same time in 2015.

Turkey has faced numerous attacks during 2016, including a suicide attack in the historic district in Istanbul in January, killing 10 German tourists, an attack at Istanbul’s main airport in June, killing more than 40 people, and an explosion at a wedding two months later, killing dozens.

Most recent, was the terrorist-related shooting at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, where 39 people were shot dead, including many partygoers who were there on holiday. 

With the country growing more vulnerable to terrorism, it poses a serious threat to the tourism industry, with foreign visitors predicted to fall a further 22 percent as travellers choose to go elsewhere for their holidays.

Historic red tram on crowded Istiklal Avenue in Taksim, Istanbul

However, according to Yasemin Pirinçcioğlu, general manager of the VIP Event travel agency told Breit Bart, foreigners who had travelled to Turkey before were still coming back, but it was those who were planning to travel to the country for the first time that were postponing. 

 Despite 2016 being a setback for Turkey’s tourism industry, a year of unfortunate events should not be a long-term deterrent for visitors. Attacks have occurred across the globe,  and travellers should not fall to the fear of terrorism.

Of course, safety is and should remain a top priority, and anyone travelling to Turkey of any other overseas destination, should check which countries are safe to travel to via the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website here: http://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/Pages/default.aspx

 

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