Is it safe to travel to Turkey? This is one of the most talked about questions in tourism right now. We’ve all heard the news surrounding terrorism in the past few months, and no country has suffered from the headlines more than Turkey. However, the sun is still shining in Turkey and its people are ready to welcome visitors with their arms wide open. Perhaps surprisingly under the circumstances, travelers and those who own property in Turkey, are defying the odds and it seems that all is not lost for the tourism industry. People are waking up to the scaremongering of the press and are fighting terrorism in defiance by booking flights to Turkey in their droves.
Tourism market leader, Travel Supermarket, recently released an article putting to rest the rumor that Turkey is no longer a safe place to visit, saying that “In Turkey’s popular coastal resorts, such as Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye, it’s business as usual with tourism continuing on as normal. There has been little impact on Brits’ desire to book holidays to the popular Mediterranean coastline, famous for its stunning scenery, warm blue seas, friendly welcome and historical sights.” Some reports read that tourist attractions such as the ancient site of Ephesus and Pamukkale are void of visitors, but we have to remember that while the news agencies focus on the negatives, the tourist season in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey hasn’t officially begun yet. In fact, direct flights to their hub airport Dalaman, have only started to run this week.
As potential tourists hear that flight operators such as Thomson and Thomas Cook are cancelling flights, it is important to remember that airlines lose money if their flights are not full. It is in their interests financially to move passengers to another flight from a larger airport if they are below the capacity to break even. Thomas Cook’s share prices have fallen steadily from a 161.30p high in May 2015 to a price of 89.10p this week. TUI, the company behind Thomson and First Choice Holidays took a €40 million hit last year following the fall out of the tourism massacre in Tunisia as 33 killed that day were TUI customers. These two airlines cannot afford to lose money.
If you are considering travelling to Turkey this year, take heart in the fact that all major airlines are still providing flights to all major destinations, including Dalaman, Antalya and Istanbul. Tourist guide Ozan Sayin recently remarked that “In one sense, now is the best time to visit Turkey”. Not only is security at its absolute highest, but if tourist attractions are destined to be quieter this year, tourists will have an enhanced and more personal experience of the country’s history and culture. Muray Ozguc from Cappadocia agency Proper Travel says “The upside is that anyone travelling to Turkey will be made to feel like a Pasha, with exceptional treatment, low prices and no crowds.” The Turks love to entertain, they thrive on showing off their country. Show willing and visit their country in what appears to be their time of hardship and uncertainty, and you shall be richly rewarded.
There are also some great deals to be had at the moment. The Telegraph reported last week that “It’s not all doom and gloom, with some resort hotels offering discounts of up to 40 per cent”. Akin Koç of Anatolian Sky commented that “Most British operators have managed to reduce airline and hotel commitments and are maintaining summer prices for the time being,” so the demand is clearly still there for now, though he did say he expected to see some discounts throughout the season. Flights from the UK to Dalaman haven’t really dropped in price and all-inclusive deals are starting to come to the forefront as “for holiday makers looking to book now, bargains have already begun appearing, including a week in May at Neilson’s Seaside Beach club at Ortakent with… watersports included from just £409 per person.”
Istanbul, a city at the centre of terrorist controversy, is also standing tall. Last week Touropia updated their articles on the 10 best places to visit in Turkey and Istanbul sits at the top of the list. According to Euromonitor and leading world news agency CNN, Istanbul is still one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2016. There are deals to be had in Istanbul too, with the Telegraph reporting “an April trip to Istanbul, staying at the four-start Diva’s Hotel for three nights” costing just £140 per person, including flights.
As Travel Supermarket reported last week, “…the majority of Turkey remains a safe place for holidaymakers.” Many reputable travel agencies are promoting and selling holidays to Turkey for 2016 and 2017, such as ‘On the Beach’, ‘Direct Holidays’, ‘TUI’ and ‘Travel Republic’. The FCO updated its travel advice for Turkey last week and the vast majority of the country is still in the green, including Istanbul. Even if recent events aren’t comforting, statistically as a tourist, you will be very safe and well looked after across the majority of Turkey and a nasty sunburn is probably your biggest threat. According to Hurriyet Daily News, even Russia lifted its tourism ban to Turkey on March the 24th, opening up flights daily flights to the southern resort of Antalya.
If you are planning to visit Turkey this year, be as aware of your surroundings and as vigilant as you would be anywhere else in the world right now. Keep in contact with loved ones at home and be street wise in crowded areas. If you have concerns, book your holiday with an ATOL protected company and/or make sure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover you should something go wrong. Otherwise, enjoy what this wonderful country has to offer. Bask in the sunshine, immerse yourself in their culture, gorge on their tasty food, enjoy their unprecedented hospitality and be amazed at the glorious clear waters, sandy beaches and mountainous surroundings.
Visit Turkey, you won’t be disappointed..