As we enter 2017…

We are again shaken by two terrorist attacks. The last one is the hateful attack at Reina against the innocent celebration on the last day of 2016. Our citizens and more than a dozen tourists guests from other countries have been lost… The other was the bomb vehicle attack in Dolmabahçe on December 10 and the suicide bomber in Maçka Park… Tears, laments, and mourning again…

It is not enough to share our condolences and to say “We damn terrorism”. Because those ignorant people who commit these attacks are not even “”human beings”. If they are “human” at all, I don’t know what they will do in afterlife. The result? The result is “turbulence”. We are going through a global turbulence.

No matter how hard we tried to save our flight as an industry from this turbulence, the sector shrank by 30-31% in 2016. Our sector used to generate the 21% of export income and now this rate has fallen to 15-16%. 40% of the budget deficit used to be compensated by tourism and now the rate is down to 36%. We witness serious falls in the number of tourists coming from Russia, the US, Europe and especially from the Middle East. However, we are not alone. Terrorist attacks in other countries also affect us negatively. Starting with the US and France, people now opt for traveling in their on countries. We try to create alternative markets, on the one hand, try to offer incentives for domestic tourism and try to keep our international relations alive on the other.

With this aim in mind, TÜRSAB and the German Travel Association (DRV) organized a common Board Meeting in İstanbul in November with the purpose of developing tourism relations between Turkey and Germany. Before the meeting, DRV President Norbert Fiebig stated that the Turkish tourism products are very important in the German market and he reminded their ongoing support for Turkish tourism. On the other hand, with our great work and under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and with the supports of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul and Turkish Airlines, the General Council Meeting and the 50th Anniversary “Golden Jubilee” of UFTAA (United Federation of Travel Agencies Association) was organized in Istanbul. UFTAA President Sunil Kumar stated in the final declaration of the meeting, with 120 delegates from 25 countries, that Istanbul and Turkey are safe for holiday makers. General Secretary Çetin Gürcün was elected as a member of the UFTAA board. I would like to extend my thanks to our Honorary Member Mr. Nihat Boytüzün and all others who have contributed to the event.

Terrorism is now a global problem, and we don’t know when and where it will strike next. It is now an imperative that the world will act in unison in this matter.

Hoping that reason, conscience, and common sense will prevail in 2017 and wishing everyone happiness…

Başaran ULUSOY

The President of TÜRSAB