Following the twin bomb blasts at Ankara’s main railway station on Saturday, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice section for Turkey on Sunday: “We recommend staying away from central Ankara and restricting any movements around the city. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings in Turkey and remain extra vigilant. You should follow any instructions given by local authorities.”
The FCO also warned against all but essential travel to Şırnak, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli, Diyarbakır and Hakkari provinces. All are in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern and south-eastern regions, where clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants have become increasingly common.
China has just added itself to the list of 14 other countries – France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Iran that have issued travel warnings.
According to Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’, Turkey’s tourism industry could see losses of around $10-11 billion by the year’s end amid a dramatic loss in Russian tourists and a major reductions in hotel room prices across the country, according to leading sector representatives.
“Turkey’s tourism sector grew in double digit figures in the last 25 years. The sector has, however, faced tough times with the rise in Russia’s economic problems, security concerns especially after the Arab Spring in the region and the Syria crisis,” said the head of the Hoteliers’ Federation of Turkey (TUROFED), Osman Ayik.
The country saw around a 25% decrease in the number of tourists from Russia and its neighbours, although a 9% increase was seen in the number of German and European tourists, he noted.
“The rise in the number of European tourists cannot, however, enable the sector to compensate its losses from the Russian market. In this vein, we expect a loss in income. The losses will differ across the regions, but we most probably won’t close the year with positive growth,” he noted.
Edited from diplomacy.bgnnews.com, Zaman, Hurriyet