Greek tourism officials react to Turkey referendum

Turkey losing as a tourist destination due to developments

The Greek tourism sector appears troubled about the recent result in the Turkish referendum and how it could affect the industry in the wider Mediterranean region along with the geopolitical developments in the wider area. In a first reaction the head of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis opined that the outcome, combined with the gradual deescalation of tensions in the Aegean Sea and the refugee crisis was a positive development for Greek tourism. Tourism officials have repeatedly stressed that Greece offers a great alternative of stability and safety for visitors amid a volatile environment in the wider area gaining flows from Turkey and Egypt. According to data, Greece continues to record a high rate of bookings for summer after last year’s positive results. Data from the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture showed that the industry was under pressure with an 8.12% drop in bookings for the 2-month period of January-February, which translates to 2.6 million visitors, with over half of the arrivals concerning Constantinople. For the total of 2016 arrivals to Turkey were down by 30%, standing at 25.3 million compared to 2015 when arrivals were 36.2 million. Tourism officials in Turkey are bracing themselves for a tough year, with the president of Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), Basaran Ulusoy saying that the industry had contracted by 31% in 2016 due to terrorism. “We can see a significant fall in tourist flows from Russia, the US and Europe and especially from the Middle East”, he said. Demand for travelers to Turkey has fallen substantially from large tour operators like TUI cor the summer of 2017.

by Stefania Souki