The current problems, which have risen amid escalating security concerns and a significant decrease in the number of Russian tourists, will likely impact other sectors, including the agriculture sector, and push up the unemployment rate across the country, according to sector representatives.
The head of the Antalya Chamber of Trade and Industry (ATSO), Davut Çetin, said the number of Russian tourists has almost zeroed over this year and they expected a significant drop in the number of arrivals from Europe, mainly from Germany, after a series of terror attacks which recently hit Turkey.
He noted the organization submitted various scenarios to the government after the Russian crisis erupted, but only optimistic scenarios were shared with the public.
‘Much worse than expected'
“We are at a point which is much worse than what we had earlier predicted in our worst case scenario,” he noted at a meeting late March 18.
The vice president of the organization and the head of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers' Association (AKTOB), Yusuf Hacısüleyman, said they predicted a loss of $8 billion in revenue in their previous scenario upon the predicted loss of around 4 million tourists following the jet crisis with Russia, by presuming the spending per capita at $1,000 plus the multiplier effect at 1.87.
“With the addition of the expected losses from the European market, we have now revised our potential revenue losses to $12 billion,” he said one day before another terror attack in Istanbul, which killed at least four foreign nationals in central Istanbul on March 19.
Hacısüleyman said the rising number of security warnings for Turkey by Western countries has spurred further losses in the sector, noting that the German Travel Association (DRV) canceled a four-day meeting scheduled in April in the Aegean resort of Kuşadası.
“When travel agencies canceled their meetings over security concerns, we cannot wait for arrivals from Germany to Turkey” he added.
He noted that the number of European tourists may decline by almost half over this year, adding that the number of Iranian tourists is expected to decrease to 30,000 over this year from around 45,000 last year.
Spain will lure much more tourists than it did earlier this year, and may reach around 80 million tourists, according to sector representatives. Another popular destination will be Greece, they added.
Job losses ‘may hit 100,000'
Çetin noted many hoteliers would not open their hotels this year, and around 80,000-100,000 job losses are expected in Antalya alone.
He said the problems in the tourism sector have already started to spillover to other sectors, mainly the agricultural sector, and the losses will become more visible by May and the following months.
Çetin also noted the EXPO Fair will open on April 22 with the attendance by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
A number of world-famous stars are expected to attend the event, which will last six months and provide an increase in the number of tourists, bringing about some relief to the sector, he noted.
Over 44 countries have so far affirmed their participation in the event, according to sector representatives.