When Britain announced Turkey would stay on its “red list” of travel destinations last week, Onur Arican decided to close his boutique hotel on the Aegean coast early this year rather than wait out a summer season derailed by COVID-19 and wildfires.
Turkey was third in Turkey for tourists from Britain, with 2.25 million people visiting the country that year. Arican manages his hotel Mavi Yengec, which has 19 rooms.
Arican stated that the British guest count was lower this year than in 2019. He had to reduce a third his staff.
He said that while he offered discounts for vacationing Turks, the company was still in business. However, alcohol sales dropped sharply, and he didn’t bother to open his largest room.
Britain placed travel restrictions COVID-19 on Turkey last October and made it a “red” list in May. This forced all travelers to be quarantined in hotels upon their return.
Many hoteliers and travel agents along Turkey’s south coast hoped that the government would remove the classification last week to save their season. However, Britain extended the restriction to September 15-16 to allow for a review.
Arican stated that “Britain’s red list opened up a new can of worms to Turkish tourism.” We will be closing on September 15, or perhaps earlier, due to the lack of Britons.
Turkey’s tourist season usually ends around November. This sector accounts for more than 10%, and attracts hard currency that can be used to offset a large trade deficit.
The number of foreign arrivals increased fourfold last year due to the holidaymakers coming from Russia, Germany, and Arab countries. However, they are still well below 2019 levels.
Many hotels around Marmaris and Fethiye in the area of Dalaman, Fethiye, Dalaman, Kusadasi were forced to close their doors early due to a spate of wildfires that claimed nine lives last month.
Yet it was Britain’s decision on travel restrictions that many took as the nail in the coffin for the summer season of 2021.
Bulent Bulbuloglu of South Aegean Hoteliers Union stated that 600 Marmaris hotels will be closing in the coming days because London made its decision last week.
He said that while they were waiting to get one last chance at the season, most will close by September’s first day of September after Britain’s recent update. He said that many will not be able to make it through the next season.
Two weeks ago, the minister of tourism and banks met with the hotels in the region to talk about loan restructuring.
According to data from the Bank Regulator, total hotel loans in Turkey were 114.5 billion Lira (or $13.8 billion). Non-performing loans stood at 4.5 Billion Lira (541 million) as of July 31.
Can Tolga Eroglu is the owner of three hotels in Marmaris. He said that only 25 percent of his total 118 rooms were occupied. His guests usually come from Britain, with 90% being British.
Eroglu stated that hotels should be able to maintain a 95% occupancy rate in these months. Many facilities may close due to Turkey being on the red-list. Marmaris appears to be having its worst September and August.”
Menderes Akbulut is the general manager at Koral Travel. The company primarily serves the British market. He said that many smaller hotels had already closed. He said that if Britons arrived, the season could continue to mid-November.
(Written by Ceyda Cglayan, Editing by Jonathan Spicer & Raissa Kazolowsky).
Ceyda and Canan Caglayan from Reuters wrote this article and it was licensed legally through Industry Dive’s publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]
Publited Fri, 3 Sep 2021 at 17:12:21 +0000