Visiting Turkey

By | Category: Travel news

Bodrum

Yesterday afternoon a press release came from the Turkish Cultural and Tourism Office in London acknowledging that there had been demonstrations but that, today, “every sort of touristic activity is carrying on as normal,” that flights into and out of the country had been unaffected and “The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues to take every precaution regarding the safety of visitors to the country.”
The statement was probably issued as a result of all the press coverage that we have seen over the last few days. And therein lies a problem. Because the media tends to focus on problems and doesn’t often state where these problems occur holidaymakers and potential visitors look at the story and worry about whether the place to which they are travelling is safe.
In Turkey the main focus of demonstrations has been in Istanbul and Ankara. Even there it has been limited to certain areas and has started towards the evening. Our Foreign Office guidelines only suggest we don’t travel near the border with Syria. They suggest the obvious which is to stay away from demonstrations but, more significantly, they offer no guidance either positively or negatively about the main tourist destinations that most of us visit – Bodrum, Antalya, Alanya, Marmaris and Kusadasi. As far as I know, none of these has been affected and life goes on as normal. Turkey has issued its statement because it fears we may be dissuaded by the news coverage from booking Turkish holidays.
Egypt has faced similar problems in the last few years. Visitor numbers have dropped yet in Luxor and the Red Sea resorts, life has continued in much the same way as before the toppling of Hosni Mubarak. In Cairo, daytime visits to the main tourist draws have been largely unaffected. What has changed is that after each Egyptian story appears on the news, fewer bookings take place because we, naturally, get a little concerned.
And that concern has hurt Egypt and might well affect Turkey as well. Both rely on visitors for their economy and employment. In Egypt tourist buses have been waved at and applauded, something I haven’t seen for years.
Before you make a decision about whether to go to a country that has made news headlines for all the wrong reasons, check the Foreign Office website; check to see where the problems actually are and seek advice from a travel agent. Chances are they will know or have someone in the resort that you are going to and they can give you better advice on what’s happening.

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