BY FEHMI KOFTEOGLU
DW TURKEY published a news piece entitled “For tourism, Turkey turns from EU to face Russia” headline after Erdogan and Putin met in Sochi on September 29.
It is true, however, that Russia has replaced Europe in terms of the number of arrivals to Turkey. Europe’s share has decreased while the shares of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have increased. The number of tourists visiting Turkey from European and •ECD countries fell from 34% to 30% in the first eight months of 2021, compared to the same period of 2019. The share of CIS countries, led by Russia, surged from 29% to 36% in the same period.
But is this a good or a bad thing? It depends on from what perspective you are looking at it. But the fact remains: this issue should be viewed from a different standpoint.
Germany isn’t just Germany, nor is Russia just Russia.
As an economic powerhouse, Germany affects the entire European market. Russia, which leads the CIS, should be seen as part of the CIS. Moreover, Russia also affects other European markets, including Germany.
Let’s look at the situation and recent developments in Russia and Germany from this perspective.
Germany held general elections on September 26. It’s too early to talk about the impact of the election results on tourism and Turkey. However, the Putin-Erdogan meeting, held behind closed doors in Sochi on September 29 and lasting nearly three hours, is important.
Statements about tourism that were made before the meeting are also important. After Putin stated that 2.5 million Russian tourists visited Turkey this year despite the pandemic, Erdogan said: “I also thank you for the support you give, especially in tourism.” From this point of view, we can say that Turkey’s tourism performance will be determined by Russia in 2022.
It’s too early to talk about how the election results in Germany will reflect on Turkey. However, German consumers will continue to choose Turkey due to the price and service quality advantages it offers. Since tour operators, who previously learned from experience, couldn’t find an alternative to Turkey’s price or service quality, they will prioritize Turkey in their programs. This situation in Germany will also affect other markets, most notably the U.K.
The recent developments in these two source markets are promising for 2022 in comparison to rival countries in the pandemic environment.
Turkish firm to operate state hotel in Venezuela
A Turkish company will take over the operation of a hotel in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Founded as the Hotel Caracas Hilton in 1969, the hotel was later named Hotel Alba Caracas following its nationalization in 2007 by former President Hugo Chaves, who was well-known for his socialist discourse and nationalization activities. The hotel, among the symbols of the Bolivarian period in the country, was converted into a place where international events and political meetings opposing neoliberalism were organized and has been used as a vaccination and quarantine center during the pandemic.
Venezuela’s Minister of Tourism Ali Padron announced that the operation of the hotel will be handed over to a Turkish company in the middle of December. “Experts are working on management of the hotel. We’ll have a wonderful hotel in the upcoming months,” said Padron about the Turkish firm, which has chosen to remain anonymous.
The Venezuelan government forms trade partnerships and makes agreements to mutually develop tourism with countries that it considers strategic partners, such as Turkey, Russia, China, and Iran.
Hotel Alba Caracas has 898 rooms and 37 halls designed for events. Although it is a 5-star hotel, many rooms and common areas went out of service as the necessary maintenance and renovation work was not carried out. Another Turkish firm, ABN Insaat, will conduct the repair, maintenance, renovation, and redesigning of the hotel.
Greece to allow cruise ships from Turkish ports
Greece’s committee of COVID -19 experts have given approval to allow the arrival of cruise ships from Turkey and the operation of indoor swimming pools in hotels and conferences in closed spaces, according to Greek Tourism Minister Vasilis Kikilias. Speaking to SKAI radio, Kikilias said the committee is open to allowing cruise ships hailing from or passing through the Kusadasi and Galata ports in Turkey. Experts said the two ports meet European health protocols and requirements.