Turkey hopes UK to remove it from Covid-19 travel list


Turkey’s tourism industry is placing its hopes in Britain removing it from a Covid-19 travel redlist later this week to help it recover from the pandemic, a wave of fires in forest and German designation of Turkey as high risk.

While Turkish tourism has rebounded strongly from last year, with foreign visitor arrivals in July quadrupling to 4.36 million, it remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Many hotels in the southern Aegean region, which rely heavily on British tourists, could close by the end of August if Britain does not remove Turkey from its red list, according to tourism officials.

The Turkish economy is heavily dependent on the foreign currency earnings of Russian, German and British tourists.

While the Russian market has performed well, Germany’s classification of Turkey as a high-risk country this month took a toll on the sector.

Kaan Kavaloglu, head of the Limak Tourism Group, which operates four hotels in the southern resort of Antalya, said sales of Turkey packages to German tourists had slowed.

“We don’t see cancellations for existing bookings, but new bookings have slowed down. We hope this decision will change in the short term, ”said Kavaloglu.

Ulkay Atmaca, head of the Association of Professional Hotel Managers of Turkey, said that with the decline in German bookings and the Scandinavian market remaining closed, the industry is turning to Britain, which has sent more than 2 , 5 million visitors in 2019.

“We are planning to open the UK market this week,” Atmaca said. “We expect huge demand from the UK market when it opens.”

Hotels in Marmaris, a top tourist destination that was hit by wildfires this month, met with Turkish banks on Monday to discuss loan restructuring, said Bulent Bulbuloglu, chairman of South Aegean Hoteliers. Union.

He said many hotels may not be able to repay their loans until 2023. Data from Turkish banking watchdog BDDK showed total lending in the Turkish hotel industry was 116 billion. lira ($ 13.7 billion) and non-performing industry loans to 4.2 billion lira at the end of June.

Bulbuoglu said the industry was waiting for the UK market to open “as a last chance”, adding that otherwise 70% of hotels in Marmaris would close by the end of August. [Reuters]


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