Posted on 10 June 2011
Turkey welcomed 6 million visitors in the first 4 months of 2011, an astonishing 21% increase over last year. Obviously this incredible rise has been mainly attributed to the Arab Spring; the name given to a series of uprisings which have toppled governments and created warzones across the Middle East.
Baracude Tour owner Cem Polatoğlu believes that the rise is absolutely as a result of the Arab Spring, and that the only thing the industry can do is go all out to give a first class experience, to ensure those who are coming, will want to come again.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry argues that the rise cannot be because of the Arab Spring.
“We do not agree with arguments that Turkey’s tourism sector is benefitting from the uprisings and economic and political tensions in other parts of the world. This would be a short-lived effect considering that in the medium run people tend to cancel vacation plans when there is such unease in the world. Thus, we hope that stability and peaceful solutions will prevail at the end, benefitting all tourist destinations in the world,” said Culture and Tourism Promotion General Manager Cumhur Güven Taşbaşı.
Who’s right. In truth nobody knows, and most likely they both are. On one hand you could argue that most people tend to book their holiday months in advance, so it is likely Turkey would have secured a substantial growth in visitors long before the Arab uprisings. On the other hand, with a growth so huge you have to say that at least some of it was probably as a result of the events in neighbouring countries.
All we can say is that we firmly believe in Turkey’s appeal as a tourist destination, and as we have seen many times before, events which lead to a spike in Turkish visitor numbers, do breed further growth because of returning visitors.