MUĞLA - Doğan News Agency
The Turkish government is set to offer $30 in support for each cruise passenger to enliven the sector, Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı has said.
Avcı was meeting leading tourism representatives in the Marmaris district of the Aegean province of Muğla late on April 12 ahead of the beginning of the tourism season in the country’s coastal areas.
He praised Turkey for rising to sixth place in the world’s top 10 tourism destinations and said it had the potential to become one of the top three destinations, while accepting that 2016 was a “tough year” for the struggling sector.
The number of foreign people visiting Turkey declined to 25.3 million in 2016, a 30 percent drop compared to 2015, after a series of bomb attacks, a diplomatic crisis with Russia, and the failed July 15 military coup attempt, according to data from the Tourism Ministry.
Turkey’s tourism revenue also dropped to $22.1 billion in 2016, a 29.7 percent drop compared to 2015, as the number of foreign arrivals to the country witnessed a dramatic plunge, official data showed on Jan. 31.
Avcı vowed that the government has taken a number of measures to overcome these difficulties.
“We have recently prepared a cabinet decision to offer subsidies for cruise tourism. We will offer $30 for each cruise passenger to companies who carry cruise tourists into Turkey,”
Almost all large cruise companies canceled all scheduled stops in Turkey for the 2017 season, voicing security concerns.
The government also offers $6,000 fuel subsidies per charter and/or regular flight to a group of travel agencies carrying passengers at more than 10 airports.
“With your support, we will get back to the good old days,” said Avcı, addressing sector players.
“Tourism representatives need to be strong ... Murphy’s Law works here. If we say things are going badly, things will likely go badly,” he said, adding that the sector passed a “difficult test” in 2016.