Turkey loses share of European tourism market – news report

Turkey lost 12 percent of the European tourism market in 2017, mainly due to political disputes with Germany and the Netherlands, Germany-based Turkish news website Artı Gerçek said.

Only five percent of German tourists chose Turkey as a holiday destination in 2017, the second year in which numbers declined, the report said.

In 2016, Turkey’s tourism sectors suffered $8 billion in losses after Russia cancelled charter flights to Turkey after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane over the Syrian border.

The number of German tourists visiting Turkey also dropped by 30 percent that year according to Turkish Ministry of Culture figures, Artı Gerçek said.

In 2017, the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey increased after the two countries restored diplomatic relations, but the number of German tourists dropped a further 10 percent, it said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has recently said Turkey is ready to normalise bilateral relations with Germany, after a series of disputes, including the imprisonment of German journalists in Turkey.

“Turkey is a safe country,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Turkey saw an overall increase in the number of tourists visiting in 2017, but revenues decreased, according to the Professional Hotel Managers Association.

Better-educated and wealthier German families say they have visited Turkey before and do not plan to return soon, the news report said.

“I will not go to Turkey as long as (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan is in power,” Peter Roth, a retired German chemist was quoted by Artı Gerçek as saying.

“I am worried about the political situation, if I speak with people about politics there, things may happen to me,” Detlev Qrusa, a German teacher, said.

“I have visited Turkey many times, even after the 1980 military coup, and it was better than today,” Herbert Vondev Driescht, a social worker, was quoted by Artı Gerçek as saying. “I don’t want to support undemocratic politics with my holiday spending. I don’t know if that could be effective, but this is how I protest.”