Turkish tourists afraid to go to Paris due to violent street clashes

BETÜL ALAKENT
ISTANBUL
Published 04.06.2016 00:00
Updated 04.06.2016 00:01

In the aftermath of the strikes in France, the violent clashes between demonstrators and police have made Turkish tourists uncomfortable, resulting in a 10 percent decrease in the number of people going on European tours. Some travel agencies have suspended their Paris tours, announcing that they could be re-routed to include destinations like the Balkans, Prague and Vienna.

Announcing Am Tour's suspension of its Paris tours, the company chairman, Veli Çilsal, said: "We will monitor the events. If they are not solved within a month, we will offer alternative destinations to our guests. We started making preparations. The demand for our Paris tours decreased by 15 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. The demand for European tours also decreased by 10 percent."

Stressing that they have not cancelled their Euro 2016 packages yet, Çişel said: "The European championship covers a limited period. It is also more expensive than other packages. That's why there is no cancellation. However, we are already taking precautions to avoid any further problems. We hope that the problems will be resolved soon." Pointing out that they anticipated a drop in interest among Turkish tourists for European tours; even if the EU lifts the visa requirement for Turks. Çilsal said that packages for the Balkans, Central Europe and the Far East have considerable weight, adding that their sales for these regions increased by 25 percent compared to the previous year.

'We will offer alternatives'

Pronto Tour Chairman Ali Onaran said the ongoing strikes slowed down the procedures and processes. Hoping that this negative picture would soon be solved, Onaran continued: "If the circumstances do not go back to positive, we will offer alternative markets to our guests. In the aftermath of the incidents with Russia, we had offered our guest alternative destinations such as Kiev, Ukraine and Belarus. We will apply a similar policy to Europe as well."

Stating that they have not seen any drop in demand, the Jolly Tur director of overseas tours, Tolga Tekin, said: "[W]e keep our guests away from the spots where the incidents occur. If the incidents escalate more, we will definitely search for alternatives." Stressing that the largest number of tourists visited Europe during this period, Tekin said he believes the problems will be solved.

'Euro 2016 could be disrupted'

Protests against the government's planned labor reforms in Paris, but running into harsh police intervention, protesters announced that they would not take a step back unless the reforms are scrapped and the government takes steps to support workers. Wide-scale strikes and street protests are anticipated to have negative effects on participation in Europe's biggest football championship, the EURO 2016, which kicks off on June 10.

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