The terror attack in Istanbul has shocked the public and directly hit the Turkish tourism industry. Now is the time for action, says fvw’s Klaus Hildebrandt.
After the attack in Ankara, the renewed conflict with the PKK in south-east Turkey and the stationing of Germany surveillance jets in Turkey, German bookings for the destination were already weaker in the second half of 2015. However, business had just started to pick up with more family bookings for this summer. But after the terror attack in Istanbul, it’s not surprising that 80% of respondents to an fvw.de online survey expect German customers to be more cautious now.
Hoteliers and the entire Turkish tourism industry are already suffering from the Russian travel ban and hotel prices are dropping further. But Turkey will not be able to make a comeback simply through lower prices. The country has an image problem in the view of many tourism managers, as a survey at the annual conference of the hotel association Aktob last November showed.
A crisis always worsens if a country does not communicate. Of course, attacks in a metropolis like Istanbul are difficult to prevent. But it would be good to know how the Turkish government wants to ensure the safety of holidaymakers at the coastal beach resorts, how it wants to restore confidence in the destination on the German market and how it plans to prevent its tourism industry from a financial collapse. The insolvency of Vural Öger’s tourism group was essentially caused by problems in his hotel business sparked by the decline in the Russian market. It will not be the last one this year.
The new tourism minister Mahir Ünal has already approached the industry in a more open manner than his predecessor who was barely seen in the last three years. In cooperation with tourism chiefs in Turkey and the source markets, he now needs to find ways out of the crisis that go beyond simply playing down problems.