We Need to Focus On 2021 To Revive Tourism

World Travel & Tourism Council foresees that the adverse impacts of the coronavirus on tourism will be five times worse than the 2008 economic crisis

The coronavirus outbreak is a unique event in history that has never been seen before. It has also severe and heavy consequences for the health of people and the economy. Therefore, we hope that Turkey and the whole world recover from this period with the least amount of life loss and we return to our normal flow of life.

Coronavirus Has Affected Tourism the Most

Coronavirus has affected tourism the most in Turkey and around the world. World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) foresees that the adverse impacts of the coronavirus on tourism will be five times worse than the 2008 economic crisis. In the report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) dated April 15, 2020, it is stated that world tourism will shrink by 45% and it will contract by 70% if the start of activities in the sector is delayed to September.

Tourism in Turkey Goes Through A Difficult Process

International tourism has almost been brought to a halt with the closing of borders, suspension of flights, and travel bans. And Turkey, which is among the top six countries in the world in terms of attracting visitors, has been adversely affected by this process. Closing 2019 with records in tourist numbers and tourism income, Turkish tourism is going through difficult times due to the coronavirus. The total number of visitors dropped by 20.52% in the first quarter of 2020. It is also expected the travel restrictions will increase our loss in tourism. Moreover, many travel agencies are now in a jam due to the crisis and go through troubling times. As a union, we created a crisis desk to take the necessary steps for our industry as of the first day the coronavirus began to spread worldwide. We informed the Presidency, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, other related ministries as well as the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey about the measures required to ensure sustainability in tourism. We also exchanged opinions with many organisations abroad that operate in the same field as us.

The Normalisation Process Raises Our Hopes for The Sector

The expectations that all areas in our daily lives will enter into a normalisation process in June as a result of the successful works of our country against the virus raise our hopes for the sector. We foresee that, when the outbreak is taken under control in our country and the world, domestic tourism will be revived around July-August a nd foreign tourists will start to come, even if in small numbers, around September and October. However, for a real recovery in tourism, we need to focus on 2021 and carry out our promotion, marketing, and public relations activities in a systematic way. Because tourism is the most strategic sector in our country with its foreign currency inflow. We hope that the support and contributions for the survival of the travel agencies, the engines of the Turkish tourism, will increase in line with the improving dynamics, and our country’s tourism will go back to its old days in no time.

Member of DEİK Board of Directors & President of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies     Firuz Bağlıkaya    

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