Tourism is down in the North African and Middle Eastern countries whose governments have become unstable or violent and uprisings continue throughout the region. This should be good for business in nearby Mediterranean countries that are safe, especially if that country is marketed as a cheap alternative to other countries on the Med right? Not if you’re Turkey.
Turkey has worked hard to position itself as one of the most affordable options for European tourists in recent years. For a lot of people, a vacation to Paris or Rome became out of the question as the economic downturn dragged on and Turkey started to seem like a good idea. 2.7 million British tourists visited Turkey’s beaches and ancient cities in 2010, a full 10% increase over 2009.
Even though Turkey has a secular government and has had democratic leadership since the early 20th century, tourists are canceling vacations at a much higher rate than anticipated, even when tourism officials thought bookings would rise. It seems in planning a vacation to Turkey, visitors research the best beaches and bars Turkey has to offer, but not its geography or recent political history – mistaking the danger in other countries in the region for instability in Turkey.
The Daily Mail has reported that there has been a 9% decrease in bookings so far this year and it’s only April. That means numbers are closer to their 2009 level and concern over visiting the Middle East is a long way from over.
Image: Clive Darr/Flickr