Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Turks and Tourism

I sat last night and watched ZDF (Channel Two on state-run German TV) run a segment on the Auslands Journal.  The piece?  Tourism in Turkey.

So they sent a team down to the Turkish Riviera, along the southern coast.  This is late July, and the beaches ought to be filled with Dutch, German, British and French travelers.  There's literally no one there.

The streets with gold shops, customized leather shops, and cafes?  Empty.

The Turk political folks they interviewed?  They tried to spin a good story....that stability is there and the tourists will return shortly.

The Turk businessmen who rely upon tourism?  You could tell by the facial expressions....they just don't have much confidence.  They can survive one lousy summer like this.  But they need things to return to some norm within three or four months.

If this continues on through all of 2017's tourist season?  For some of these cafes and shops....they'd just shut down and vacate the front.  Tax revenue would drop, fewer flights going into Turkey, and a wave of unemployment issues would occur.  I would take a guess that you might see 50-percent unemployment in these coastal towns that were built up on tourism and have nothing to fall back upon.

It is an unsettling video to watch.  Beach areas that should be full and overflowing with Germans....just practically empty.  I spent two weeks in Turkey at some beach resort in the late 1990s.  It was a safe prices.....decent food.....and friendly Turks around every corner.  

Does Erdogan realize this?  I think he has some gameplan where the nation must enter some downward economic spiral, and only he....Erdogan.....will be able to invent state jobs or welfare....out of thin air, making everyone feel that only he can save Turkey.  The thing is....if this turns out like Tunisia or Egypt.....where they permanently lost a large segment of tourism...this is hard cash that you will eventually miss.

Oh, and who got the lost Turkish travelers?  ARD says Spain got the bulk of lost tourism.  They could use it.....because of the unemployment rate there.  

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