Turkish tourism sector to receive more aggressive support

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.06.2016 22:13
Updated 09.06.2016 22:14

With the considerable decline in the number of tourists visiting Turkey, the scope of support programs to revive the industry is widening. Among the new measures to help the sector, according to ministers' decisions officially announced in the Official Gazette, is a grant worth $6,000 that was previously given to charter planes with a capacity of at least 200 passengers, that will be increased 30 percent if they carry at least 150 passengers. If this requirement is fulfilled, the grant per charter flight will be brought up to $7,800. The implementation of the decision will be valid between June 1 and Aug. 31.

Under the scope of the decision, charter flights - bringing tourists to Turkey's Gazipaşa-Alanya, Antalya, Muğla, Dalaman and Milas-Bodrum airports, either with or without tariff, and to İzmir Adnan Menderes and Kütahya Zafer airports without tariff - by group A travel agencies will receive an increase in their grant. This measure aims to preserve Turkey's tourism industry's international competitive power in the area of leisure travel.

After a meeting with Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) President Başaran Ulusoy on Tuesday, Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı announced that they would give more importance to promoting tourism, and that they had set aside an additional budget for promotional activities. The ministry also assisted the industry by providing tourism professionals with Social Security Institution premium payments and restructuring or delaying bank loans.

The number of visitors to Turkey in the first quarter of 2016 has seen a sharp decline due to regional troubles which are making tourists leery to visit the country. Visitor numbers slipped 4.4 percent on a year-on-year basis over the January-March period, declining to over 5.1 million visitors, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. The average tourist expenditure - the main source of the country's tourism income - was $717 per capita, compared to $737 in the previous quarter.After December, when a crisis with Russia followed the downing of a Russian war jet on the Turkish border, the Culture and Tourism Ministry put an action plan into effect for the tourism industry in order to minimize the effects of the crisis.

The plan, which aims to support the industry in the form of fuel oil assistance, totals $6,000 for charter airlines, and is to be implemented initially between March 1 through June 15, 2016. It will be extended to include flights to 12 more countries: the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. Other measures to assist the industry are expected to be announced soon.

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