President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging Turks living overseas to take their holidays in Turkey this year to help revive the tourism sector, which has suffered from a drop in foreign visitors touring the country and staying in villas in Bodrum, apartments in Antalya or other tourist hotspots.
“I want our citizens not only to come here [Turkey] but also to invite their neighbors in their countries of residence and their friends.” Erdogan said earlier this month.
The number of foreigners visiting Turkey dropped to 25.3 million in 2016, a 30% drop compared with 2015. The sector has taken a beating with the depreciated Lira and the security situation.
Erdogan claimed that the problems Turkey has experienced over the past year are “not local but global.”
“The effects of the global economic crisis, the security crises in our region, the humanitarian drama, and political breakdown threatens and affects us just as it does the whole world.”
The president is also putting out a call to the 5.5 million Turks living abroad to hold their weddings back home.
“Today, over 50,000 weddings are held abroad by our citizens annually. This number is very serious. I expect our citizens living abroad to hold their special ceremonies like weddings, engagements or circumcisions in our country,” he said.
He is also proposing that foreign passport holders living and working in Turkey to spend at least one week in the country over the summer.
“I want to tell them: ‘Your work is here, your vacation is also here,’” he said.
Patriotic Turks book local holidays
In an effort to help boost the tourism sector, more than 2.6 million Turks have booked Turkish holidays already this year.
The number of Turks taking domestic summer holidays is expected to pass five million over the coming months. Many are taking advantage of the excellent holiday prices offered by early reservation promotions, which were launched in December.
Vice president of the Hoteliers Federation of Turkey Mehmet Isler said the share of local tourists currently stands around 15% - a share that is expected to increase.
“We expect this figure will see further rise as the weather gets warmer,” he said.
Current promotions are offering up to 50% price cuts and excellent payment plans, and are proving popular with public servants. Others are taking a patriotic stance to help boost the sector.
“Public servants can easily plan their travels in earlier dates than many others do. We have seen a flocking demand in early reservations for this year mainly due to the rise in foreign exchange rates, significant slashes in hotel prices and partly some sort of ‘national stance’ by some people to help the sector overcome its losses,” said Cem Polatoglu, the spokesperson of the Tour Operators Platform.
Erdogan encourages Turks abroad to come home for the holidays
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