German tour operators play down new travel advice

The German government has stepped up its advice about travelling to Turkey but tour operators do not see any impact for holidaymakers.

March 16, 2017
Bodrum is one of Turkey’s top tourist destinations.
Photo: Thinkstock

Tour operators have reacted cautiously to new travel advice for Turkey that warns about possible anti-German protests in the coming weeks ahead of the controversial referendum over a new constitution on 16 April.

The latest headline-making political tension between Ankara and Berlin prompted the German foreign ministry to update its travel advice for Turkey. It warned that “during the election campaign increased political tension and protests must be expected, which could also be directed against Germany. In some cases, German travellers to Turkey could also be affected”. The ministry advised holidaymakers to stay away from political events and large gatherings of people.

Earlier this week the Dutch and Austrian governments also toughened their travel advice for Turkey, warning their citizens to avoid crowds in public places.

In response. DER Touristik stressed that the German government has not changed its assessment of the overall security situation in Turkey. “There is the message to stay away from political events, and we advise this to our customers as well,” commented René Herzog, CEO for Central Europe. There is no general travel warning for Turkey that would force tour operators to fly guests home again, the company added.

Similarly, FTI said the foreign ministry has not altered its views on general security in the country, and there are no consequences for holidaymakers in the beach destinations. The tour operator highlighted Turkey’s “excellent value for money” and high hotel quality, adding that “German guests are still warmly welcomed by hoteliers and the local population”.

TUI emphasised: “The situation is calm in Turkey’s tourist beach regions. Apart from the recommendation to avoid political gatherings, we have no new information that restricts holidaymakers in Turkey in any way.” The German market leader added: “Every holidaymaker decides for himself or herself whether Turkey comes into question as a travel destination.”

Thomas Cook declined to comment on the foreign ministry’s latest travel advice for Turkey.

Demand for holidays in Turkey has collapsed on the German market over the last year following terror attacks and political disputes. Total visitor numbers dropped from 5.6 million in 2015 to 3.9 million last year, and bookings for this year had fallen by nearly 60% as of the end of January, according to figures from the German Travel Association (DRV).

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