Tourism sector eyes government support amid financial troubles

July 23, 2009, Thursday/ 17:59:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
Ahmet Barut, chairman of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), has called on the government to lend support to the tourism sector in the face of an ongoing global financial crisis which has taken its toll on the markets.

Speaking in Antalya on Wednesday, Barut said they fear 2010 will be an even harsher year than 2009 for the Turkish tourism sector and that the government should take timely action to prevent disastrous repercussions for the Turkish economy. “We are concerned that the sector will continue hemorrhaging money in 2010. We need back-up measures urgently; otherwise, 2010 will also be a year of losses.” Many Turkish hoteliers have reduced their prices by almost 40 percent in an effort to spur lagging demand. Hotels now have no choice but take these drastic measures, since they've seen such a remarkable decline in this year's bookings compared to preceding years.

Emphasizing that the tourism sector has not been spared from the adverse effects of the ongoing global financial crisis, he said they have for a long time been petitioning the government to introduce necessary precautions. “We have failed to see enough recovery in tourism this year, and this bleak outlook looks likely to continue in 2010. However, Turkish tourism sector representatives do not want to lose one more year, struggling with problems,” he said, arguing that the sector is growing more fragile against the destructive waves of economic hardship every passing day. “We have to increase the strength of the sector and provide a healthy financial atmosphere. There is also a need for effective promotions, both in the domestic and foreign markets. The government should cooperate with world-known tour agencies.

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