Turkey and Thomas Cook

By | Category: Travel destinations

For Turkey, the collapse of Thomas Cook was significant because the company was responsible for bringing over a million tourists to the country just from the UK but Germany as well. From other countries; Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Poland, a further million would be expected yet in all these countries, Thomas Cook divisions went bust as well.

Bodrum is one of the most popular destinations for Britons along with Dalaman and Antalya

The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) said that Thomas Cook owed Turkey’s tourism sector more than €350 million. In reply, the Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry said it would introduce a credit support package with the country’s Treasury and Finance Ministry for tourism firms affected by the collapse.

It also announced that the tourism budget, which was $18 million in 2018, would increase to $72 million. It wants $180 million by 2020 and $220 million in 2023.

Whilst this is helpful in encouraging visitors to get to the country, the removal of Thomas Cook flights means that it is difficult for those same visitors to get there. And whilst the accommodation is available who in the tourist supplier countries is going to sell that huge number of holidays and package the tours given that it takes a significant effort in terms of money and people?

Such a significant impact made travel organisations in the country nervous and they demanded – and got – government assistance. That assistance will be of benefit to Britons planning to holiday in Turkey this coming winter and next year.

It has been suggested that Turkish Airlines should offer additional capacity charter planes, since Thomas Cook was supposed to bring nearly 40,000 tourists to Turkey last month and a slightly smaller number this month. With other Turkish airlines like Pegasus and Sunexpress which provide regular charter flights from UK regional airports to Turkey, could the vacuum be filled? The answer to that is no unless those airlines could acquire or lease more planes.

Will it change the market in the UK? Last month Ibrahim Batkitar, director of U.K.-based Comfort Travel, suggested that people don’t trust online travel agents (OTA) and would prefer to deal with high street chains where they can talk their holidays over with a human being.

Whether you believe Batkitar or not there is a big gap to fill. Can the big four – TUI and Jet 2 as more traditional holiday companies and On the Beach and Love Holidays as newer online companies fill the gap?

The tourism strategy as outlined by the government at the end of September planned on 75 million tourists by the end of 2023. It said that 4 million of those would come from the Far East and Australasia but might it now have to concentrate efforts on maintaining European tourism?

easyJet has said that it will provide 350,000 addition al seats each year for British holidaymakers but does it have the planes? Would it not need to ramp up those numbers as it acquires planes or does it plan to close other routes? This could also be a great opportunity for their holiday division – which is registered in Mallorca but holidays are ATOL bonded and therefore safe from the problems that hit lowcostbeds a few years ago – to expand. It has the financial muscle to be able to offer and provide substantially more holidays than it does at present.

Be prepared for blitzes of promotion from Turkey over the Christmas and new year periods when the peak booking season begins. Turkey plans on using not just television but digital and social media in a more targeted way based on research it currently has under way in the UK.

It plans on a taste map of the country to encourage gastronomy tourism, educational, adventure sports and faith tourism promotions as well as reminding us of offerings in watersports, festivals, cruising and gulets, heritage promotions cycle tours and stressing sustainability and environmental offerings.

If Turkey is to find those two million tourists a year that says Thomas Cook was responsible for delivering then it certainly seems to be drawing up extensive plans to encourage us to contin ue to holiday there.

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