Repairing tourism in Turkey includes sinking a passenger airplane

For many Turkey is a wonderful travel and tourism destination. eTN Publisher Juergen T Steinmetz said after returning from a recent weeklong trip to Istanbul: “It’s one of my favorite metropolitan cities in the world. Of course I am aware of the terror threat, but this threat is everywhere. My own birth town Duesseldorf this week escaped a major attack. To be hit in a terror incident is still a chance equal to win the jackpot in a State lottery twice in a row.”

But negative media coverage and questionable political leadership in Turkey do it. Turkey tourism is suffering big time, while Turkish Airlines expands to one new destination almost every week.

Turkey has it all. One of the best airline, the best airline lounge on the planet, some of the best hotels for the lowest rates in the industry. Food is fantastic, sweets are to die for, and tourists can experience history dating back thousands of years. This not to forget scenery, beaches, buildings, bazars, some of the best shopping in the world and of course Turkish Coffee.
Did I mention some of the most friendly people, educated and welcoming.

Killing travel and tourism is a goal for those that want us harm.

An Airbus A300 has been sunk and turned into an artificial reef off the coast of Kusadasi, a southwestern resort town in Turkey, while the country’s once booming tourism industry struggles to keep afloat amid a sharp drop in visitors due to sanctions and terror fears.

The airplane was brought to the southwestern resort town of Kusadasi in Aydin province on five trucking rigs on Saturday, local media reported. The 54-meter-long Airbus, said to be the biggest plane ever to be turned into an artificial reef, was dismantled in Istanbul in a procedure that started in April.

Some parts of the aircraft were sunk using lifting cranes as heavy construction equipment controlled the process. Inflatable balloons were tied to the fuselage, while the whole body was brought down to a depth of 20 to 25 meters with the help of divers. The whole process took about two and a half hours.

“Our goal is to make Kuşadası a centre of diving tourism. Our goal is to protect the underwater life. And with these goals in mind, we have witnessed one of the biggest wrecks in the world,” metropolitan Mayor Ozlem Cercioglu said, adding that he hoped that the creation of the new diving spot will be a big step towards rebooting tourism in the region.

Turkey’s tourism industry has seen a sharp decline since last year. Tourism is, and always has been, the lifeblood of Turkey’s economy, accounting for more than four percent of the country’s GDP and employing more than a million registered workers.

Revenue from tourism fell 14.3 percent in the final quarter of last year. Bookings for this summer have plunged by 40 percent, while hotel occupancy rates have dropped by more than 50 percent since 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing industry figures. According to the media, hundreds of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and boutique resorts have been put up for sale.

The number of Russian tourists plunged 81 percent in January compared with the same month the year before.

A series of terrorist attacks targeting tourist areas also seems to have scared off visitors.

The US, the UK, Russia, Israel, and other countries have issued warnings to their citizens advising them to leave or refrain from visiting Turkey citing the increasingly high security risks.