Russian crisis to cost Turkey’s tourism $2.5 billion, 20,000 jobs

ANKARA, Turkey - As the number of Russian visitors has dropped 30 percent, an economic cost of $2.5 billion has been forecasted, while 20,000 people in the Mediterranean province of Antalya are expect

Russian crisis to cost Turkey’s tourism $2.5 billion, 20,000 jobs

ANKARA, Turkey – As the number of Russian visitors has dropped 30 percent, an economic cost of $2.5 billion has been forecasted, while 20,000 people in the Mediterranean province of Antalya are expected to lose their jobs.

According to the president of the Union of Mediterranean Hotel Owners (AKTOB), Yusuf Hacısüleyman, who recently attended a meeting with top figures from the Ministry of tourism and Culture regarding the crisis facing the sector, Antalya has seen 450,000 fewer visitors already this year, with that figure likely to increase to one million by the end of the season.

“We had calculated this. With precautions we will take over the next few years, we will try to minimize losses as much as possible. There is a general loss and we will see if we are be able to ensure that things return to normal. We may create appealing prices for local tourists,” Hacısüleyman told Today’s Zaman.

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The decline in tourists will lead to a 10 percent decline in employment in the area, he stated. “Our country needs the tourism revenue, but it is also very important for the fundamental social life [of young people], as tourism is the sector that provides these young people the most jobs,” the AKTOB president said, adding that 189,000 are employed in the Antalya tourism industry, but that the number will soon shrink by 18-20,000 jobs.

“There has been an increase in British, American and German visitors, and only a decline in Russians. The situation resembles a flat tire, but we didn’t flatten the tire, Russia did,” Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TÜRSAB) board chairman Başaran Ulusoy told Today’s Zaman.

Ulusoy said that other countries competing for tourism have depicted Turkey as a country entangled in war. “Our closest province to Syria is Şanlıurfa, but they are practically portraying İstanbul as immersed in war,” he added.

Rawda Hotels Turkey Director Muhammet Emin Dilberoğlu said that hotel vacancy rates are rising as numbers of tourists decline, and that many customers are even asking if violent conflict is happening in Turkey prior to booking rooms.

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