The string of terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic State or Kurdish militants, on top of a diplomatic feud with Russia, are battering Turkey’s vibrant tourism industry, which had been one of the few bright spots in a slowing economy.
Bookings for this summer are down 40% from last year, and hotel occupancy rates have plunged more than half, according to industry figures. Hundreds of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and boutique resorts have been put up for sale.
And there is no end in sight to the turmoil. On Saturday, another bombing blamed on Islamic State killed four foreigners on a busy Istanbul shopping street.
A blast ripped through a busy shopping district in Istanbul Saturday, killing several people and injuring 39 others. Turkish officials say a Turkish national named Mehmet Ozturk, who was born near the Syrian border, carried out the suicide attack. Photo: AP
“We didn’t dream of such a terrible situation,” said Bora Adali, a 35-year-old hotelier in Antalya, who is trying to sell his three-star resort. “We are facing a big crisis, and its scope hasn’t yet been recognized.”
Turkey’s tourism sector boomed in recent years, buoyed by a flood of Russians seeking its Mediterranean beaches and Westerners and Arabs drawn to its stability in a region witnessing the Arab Spring upheavals. The industry accounts for more than 4% of Turkey’s gross domestic product and employs more than 1 million people, or about 7% of the working population, according to government data.
Source: The Wall Street Journal