Despite the opening of the tourist season in Turkey and the slowdown in the tourism sector in vaccination deaths, “2021 will be a missing year” raises concerns. Businesses, especially in tourist areas such as the Mediterranean and the Aegean, suspended flights to Turkey until June, after Russia’s first post, and were forced to reconsider the first half of the year. With the government’s “complete closure” decision set for May 17, tourism experts, seeing their points after June 1, are urging the government to increase support.
$ 1 trillion in global losses
Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For more than a year, global epidemic measures and travel restrictions have resulted in the worst picture of tourism since World War II. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the loss of the global tourism industry due to Covid-19 could exceed $ 1 trillion. According to the WTTC’s Tourism Barometer, a major decline in tourism in 2020 is not expected to recover until 2024.
The number of tourists decreased by 69 percent
Russia, one of the most popular holiday destinations in European countries and the tourism sector, has been hit hard in Turkey. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI), the number of tourists visiting Turkey in 2016 decreased by 69.14 percent to 15.9 million. In 2019, the number of tourists visiting Turkey was 51.7 million. During the same period, total revenue from tourism fell by 65.1 percent to $ 12.1 billion. In this situation, as in the pandemic of the chronic current deficit, the Turkish economy has suffered from a loss of $ 10 billion in tourism revenue.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced a target to receive 34 million tourists in 2021, an increase of more than 100 percent over the previous year. However, the results of the first two months of the year are not very promising. The impact of the pandemic continued in the first two months of 2021, with tourism losses in January and February exceeding 70 percent of the previous year.
The number of people employed in the tourism sector, which was 1 million 701 thousand in 2019, decreased by 20 percent in 2020, when the pandemic occurred, and fell to 1 million 377 thousand. In other words, 324,000 people working in the tourism sector will lose their jobs in 2020. This decrease was also due to the closure of enterprises without complete closure and requests for unpaid leave for employees.
Antalya is trying to revive
Antalya, the tourist center of Turkey, is considered one of the deepest effects of living in the city of Andes. The number of tourists visiting the city, which receives an average of 15 million tourists a year, will decrease to 3 million in 2020. Dozens of luxury hotels have been forced to close for months, especially in the Belek region, which is known for its “all-inclusive” 5-star hotels.
Şahinler Holding Chairman of the Board Kemal Şahin
Club Megasaray Belek owner operating in Antalya Belek Sahinler Holding Chairman Kemal Sahin, DW Turk, despite the stagnation in the first two months of 2021, said there was a serious revival in tourism in March. However, due to the growing incidence in Turkey and the resurgence of deaths, Kamal Sahin, who canceled the decision to suspend flights to Russia until June, said, “If Russia closes in the second quarter, covering April, May and June, we could keep our full capacity. “Things broke down when Russian customers were cut off.”
Will Russian and German tourists come?
At the beginning of the country, Turkey, Russia and Germany send the most tourists. In 2019, 7 million Russian and 5 million German tourists will receive Turkey and Russia from 2.1 in 2020, while Germany can attract 1.1 million tourists. Pointing out that the vaccination process was difficult in both Russia and Germany, Kamal Sahin said, “Problems in both our main markets and in the country have disrupted our plans for the whole year. We hope so.”
Only in the region of Belek, Turkey, a five-star hotel with a number of diseases in Antalya, 60, Kemal Sahin said that it is better than other regions, “We are working with very serious measures in our hotels. As you can see our guests, the government, especially in Antalya . ”
Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TURSAB) organized by the International Tourism Forum on April 20 by the Association of German Travel Agencies (DRV) President Norbert Fiebig also drew attention to Turkey’s vaccination program. Fiebig said that in the summer, German tourists will visit countries they know and trust, and Turkey is in these places in terms of hygiene and security measures, he said. Pointing to the Government, which is very careful about traveling abroad in Germany, Fiebiger said that the vaccination of tourism workers in Turkey will accelerate the movement of tourists from Germany to Turkey, and a serious type of traffic between Germany and Turkey can be seen.
Will a full shutdown work?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a “complete closure” would be announced in all of Turkey between April 26 and April 29-May 17. As the vaccination process continued, the decision to close was one of the important demands of the tourism sector. Because tourism experts are worried that they will not be able to attract tourists by the end of the year if the increase in epidemics cannot be prevented.
“We are on a thorn as a sector”
Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) President and Aegean Tourist Hoteliers and Accommodation Association (ETİKS) President Mehmet Tanju İş, “After the decision to close completely, we have a positive, negative scenario,” he said. An estimate of 30 million tourists and $ 26 billion in revenue is expected to close by March 2021, stating, “However, the congress held in the country in March, the General Assembly and the number of lawsuits went to number one. With the release of public events in Turkey. Tourism and targets at once. it’s like a watch, “he said.
TUROFED Assistant to the President and Ethical President Mehmet Tanju Works
Stressing that Turkey is at the forefront of the number of incidents and daily deaths, and that the tourism sector is in the “tenterhooks”, Mehmet Isleri said, “Now we need to introduce a reliable country concept to take our target market for tourism more seriously. We will stay. Therefore, the next 2 weeks will be very critical for us. “
“New financial support should be provided”
Sahinler Holding Chairman Kamal Sahin said the complete closure was a “correct but delayed decision.” “We should have started full closure earlier. If we had started earlier, we could have opened the tourist season sooner,” he said. Sahin stressed that tourism companies, which will face more difficulties during the closure process, should be given new support for debtors and new support for their employees without losing income.
Aram Ekin Duran
© Deutsche Welle Turkish