Paradise Lost: ‘Turkey Losing Its Status of Top Tourist Destination’

A woman takes photographs in front of the New Mosque by the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey January 12, 2016

Paradise Lost: ‘Turkey Losing Its Status of Top Tourist Destination’

© REUTERS/ Murad Sezer
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu unveiled a government program to bail out the country’s struggling tourism sector, hard hit by the ongoing standoff with Russia.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Ahmet Davutogludescribed the action plan to provide support for the tourism industry, which includes an $87-million government grant and the set up of a facility to allow travel firms to restructure their debts.
In an interview with Sputnik, Turkey’s ex-Culture and Tourism Minister Bahattin Yücel criticized the plan as “inefficient and based on subjective assessments.” He pointed to politics as the main reason for the deepening crisis the country’s tourism industry was now going through.

“The roadmap announced by the government misses the point as it puts emphasis on showcasing the country’s tourism sector and tries to explain the current crisis by insufficient advertising,” Bahattin Yücel said.
He added that Turkey was “famous” as a world leader when it comes to crimes committed against women, active support for Daesh terrorists and human rights violations.
This paired as well with the fact that the country has jailed more journalists than anywhere else in the world and that officials have heavily cracked down on people’s access to social networks.
“And the government is now trying to change this lackluster image with the help of a large-scale and expensive campaign in support of the tourism sector,” Bahattin Yücel noted.
He pointed to recent spike in terrorists attacks in Turkey as another big problem problem, as the issue is now being raised as a reason not to visit the country by foreign media.
“As a NATO member Turkey must do something about it… Tourists from Germany, Britain, France and the United States mean a great deal to us, but they are now being advised not to come here and for pretty good reason too. As long as this unstable and unsafe situation continues, foreign tourists will hardly choose Turkey as a place to come to,” the ex-Minister emphasized.
These days there are four times more people willing to spend their vacations in Spain, Greece and even Bulgaria, where the quality of service is not very good, then those coming to Turkey.
“Turkey is losing its status of one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and it’s a pity that government’s action plan ignores the root causes of the ongoing crisis and, therefore, will be unable to make things any better,” Bahattin Yücel said in conclusion.
Russia imposed economic sanctions on Turkey after a Sukhoi Su-24 bomber was shot down by a Turkish F-16 over Syria. In November 2015, the Russian government banned all charter flights to Turkey.
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160225/1035324924/turkey-tourism-crisis.html#ixzz41GgvBrBl

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