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Turkey's tourism hit by terror

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 01:32

The number of foreign visitors going to Turkey fell 10 percent in February, the biggest drop in a decade, amid security concerns for a country feeling the spillover effects from the war in Syria. Ivor Bennett reports

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This is the image Turkey wants its tourists to remember. One of history, culture and tranquility. But there is another, very different, picture emerging... ...one of terror. A series of suicide bomb attacks blamed on Islamic State dramatically altering the country's image abroad. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) LOCAL SHOPKEEPER, YAKUP KOPAL, SAYING: "I have friends who opened restaurants. Many of them went bankrupt. I don't know who will cover their damages." Hotels are also empty. After tourist numbers fell by over 10 percent in February compared to last year. It's the biggest fall in a decade, which economists say will cost 8 billion dollars. Some of those affected fear it's even worse. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) GENERAL MANAGER OF CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL, ONDER DINLER, SAYING: "I believe there is a bigger, a sharper fall. This fall has accelerated especially after the last bomb attack in Istanbul. The numbers fell about 20-30 percent in real terms." It's not just terrorism. Istanbul is a favourite with Russians. But a chill in relations has seen their numbers halve. Despite this, Turkey is still the sixth most visited country in the world. Many investors are equally unperturbed, eyeing an expected 1 percent quarterly growth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "That is the sort of growth level that many developed markets would die for. And that is encouraging some investors to believe Turkey is a smart place to put money for the long term." Turkey's government hopes that sort of confidence will bring the tourists back. It certainly has plenty of assets to entice them.

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Turkey's tourism hit by terror

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 01:32