BY FEHMI KOFTEOGLU
Germany and the UK, the two engines of the global travel industry these days, have removed travel restrictions. Denmark has ended all measures regarding the pandemic. Greece has removed the majority of restrictions imposed as part of COVID -19.
These are some precedents from different regions in the world. Based on this news, many are now looking toward a recovery in the travel industry. The start of the recovery is important for the travel industry and the overall economy as it has impacted many workplaces with millions of people losing their jobs, amny of whom have suffered from depression.
The pandemic has resulted in more than five million people losing their lives around the world, so far. It’s still hard to estimate where things will go despite ongoing measures. These are the knowns of the pandemic. But COVID-19 is on the front burner in another way now too.
Here are some topics that will emerge in the upcoming days:
Brent crude, which was trading at USD 50 per barrel before the pandemic, has reached USD 100. Starting from the automotive industry, the microchip shortage has become a serious problem for many sectors. Increases in freight prices and problems experienced in this area are on the rise. Price surges in the food industry around the world have hit inflation. This will naturally reflect on the travel industry, as it does on every sector.
The United Nations World Tourism organization (UNWTO) has revised its forecast on the date when global tourism will overcome the difficulty it is experiencing and catch up to 2019 levels. Previously, the estimated date was 2023, which has been revised up to 2024. 45% of sector specialists say international tourism will reach the pre-pandemic level in 2024 or later while 43% say it won’t return to the pre-pandemic level before 2023, according to the UNWTO Panel of Experts.
In terms of the global economic outlook and its possible effects on the travel industry, the short and long-term evaluation should be carried out based on facts for the upcoming period.
Russian MIR becomes widespread in Turkey
The usage of MIR, an alternative payment system formed by Russia as a rival to VISA and Mastercard, has increased in Turkey, according to Head of Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Zarina Doguzova, who visited Ankara as the guest of the Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy. “Now, three Turkish banks work with the Russian national payment system covering around 35% of the tourism industry in Turkey,” said Doguzova. “We hope to extend this up to 80% so the Russian national credit card can be used at practically any hotel and anywhere in Turkey,” she added.
Russia’s credit card system was first launched in July 2019 by Russian Energy Minister at the time Aleksandr Novak at the 16th Turkey-Russia Intergovernmental Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting.
Isbank was first to starting usi g MIR. Then the system, in which Ziraat Bank and Vakifbank were included, was launched in Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) member countries Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, alongside Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
The United Arab Emirates, which started trials of the Russian credit card system, stated that it will accept transactions with the Russian domestic card soon.
Turkey ranks 5th in visitors, 11th in revenues and 17th in income per capita
Turkey ranked 5th with 15.9 million tourist visitors, 11th with USD 10.2bn total revenues, and 17th in tourism income per capita among the top 20 countries in terms of visitors in 2020, according to the United Nations World Tourism organization (UNWTO). Italy hosted the highest number of tourists in the world with 25.2 million visitors in 2020, replacing France for the top spot. The U.S. took in the most tourism revenues at USD 76.1bn in an industry worth a a total of USD 533bn in 2020. Turkey’s income per capita was USD 643, below more than more than 50 countries where income per capita exceeds USD 1,000, according to the UNWTO data.
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