Turkey’s tourism sector to shrink by 70 pct due to COVID-19

The Turkish tourism sector will have shrunk by 70 percent by the end of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy said on Thursday.

“It looks like we will end 2020 with slightly over $11 billion in tourism revenues and over 15 million travellers,” state-run Anadolu Agency cited Ersoy as saying at an online meeting of industry professionals.

The tourism sector has been hit hard during the global pandemic due to restrictions on travel, closed borders, and a collapse in consumer demand.

But the industry “should target 100% growth for next year at a minimum,” Ersoy said.

This would, however, remain well below Turkey’s tourism revenue in 2019, which stood at $34.5 billion according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

Tourism is a key part of the Turkish economy, providing a crucial source of foreign currency and making up 4 percent of the gross domestic product.

According to the OECD, the industry also faces challenges from global unrest and economic crisis in nearby countries, as well as structural problems caused by seasonality.