Saturday, August 20, 2016

Documentary Piece on Turkish Tourism

Last night (Friday), I sat and watched German 3SAT.....a state-run network, which featured a rather new documentary piece entitled "Turkey Without Tourists".  The network has the 45-minute clip up over at their site and you can view it there as well.

The German reporter spent several weeks in Turkey back in the spring and up through June.  The story is a fairly woeful tale of how a significant amount of Turkish jobs are related to the tourist industry, and it's in a fairly tough position because of terrorist acts, and the recent Erdogan actions.

At beach after beach.....there were video shots taken which should feature hundreds of German and various Europeans laying out on a five-star beach....but as the German crew filmed the spot....it was virtually empty.  No ice cream being bought.....no beer being consumed.....nothing.

They went to various hotels which in May and June.....should have had significant numbers of tourists showing up and spending a week.....two weeks....even three weeks.  Hotels that should have had most of their 300 rooms rented....were doing it with maybe a quarter of the normal expected business.

They spent time with various small business owners and hotel bosses.....who were all fairly negative about the experience.  Up until 2015, they had a fairly robust business and the terror acts committed changed the perception of Turkey being safe.  Toss in the refugee business from Syria, and the events since the coup.....it's mostly a place where tourists don't feel safe or secure.

What will happen now?  2016's tourist season is washed out completely, with zero possibility that things will return to a norm.  Most hotels along the southern coast would run a winter season, with some expectations.....but in this crisis period.....I doubt if lowering the prices would bring anyone back.

Currently, you can probably rig up a two week tour at a five-star resort in October (airfare included, all meals, all drinks) for around 450 Euro.  My guess is that they will dump to the price to 300....maybe even 250....but it won't matter.

Can they survive a repeat of this in 2017?  No, probably not.

What I think will happen by May of 2017 in Turkey is that most resorts and tourist operations will make the decision not to open.  It'll surprise me if more than a quarter of the operations are active in 2017, with hundreds of thousands of Turks out of work.  The government?  It would be a question mark over how they can influence and charm the out-of-work folks.  Eventually, I think by mid-summer of 2017....you might see several hundred thousand Turkish men who would pack and leave the country...probably for Europe....seeking work.

Was this a part of the Erdogan strategy?  Hard to say.  But if they ran any election in 2017.....it might be hard to find a pro-Erdogan voter in these affected regions.  What they've chased off.....won't becoming back for several years and the general Turkish economy can't survive in this type of situation.

Video is worth watching and I'd recommend it.

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