“Turkey should get its development in tourism not through the presentation of cheap products, but through the image of a country where peace, democracy and freedom live,” – this statement was made by the authors of the seminar on the problems of the tourism sector and proposals for their solution in the Tourism Commission under the President of Turkey.
“Although tourism is the leading sector of our country with an investment of about $120 billion, the desired result cannot be achieved due to unplanned and unnecessary incentives. The main source of the problem is not terrorism, earthquakes or pandemics, but the understanding of the economy by structural and political power,” Turkish professionals say.
They claim that tourism, Turkey's most important brand, cannot move a step further from where it once occupied – i.e. available all-inclusive tours. “The development model based on cheap labor does not work in the tourism sector. This understanding has no function other than the loss of “brand value”. Turkey should get its development in tourism not through the presentation of cheap products, but through the image of a country where peace, democracy and freedom live,” experts say. They assure that Turkey “has the potential to generate $150 billion in annual tourism revenue in a short time.
Who is to blame that Turkey does not receive this? It turns out that “unplanned, uncontrolled investments in physical and human resources, investments in tourism, as in all areas of the Turkish economy,” and they do more harm than good. “As a result of incalculable investments, the country is doomed to a spiral of cheap labor, cheap products, cheap tourism and insufficient income as an exit,” they assure.
However, the proposed way out sounds abstract and evokes not too optimistic associations. “The main way to change the image of a cheap country, the main way to change the fate of the tourism sector, which was planned according to the needs of the Western market, which is our largest market, is to regain the image of a democratic and reliable free country.” “Turkey should implement legal regulations and administrative structure that will protect nature, environment, people and investments, and increase tourism revenues much more than in the countries of the Mediterranean basin,” the participants of the seminar add.
They recalled that tourism is one of the sectors that create the largest number of jobs in Turkey, employing about 1.5 million people, and together with the sectors it affects, about 3.5 million people. At the same time, the Russian problem of hired workers is also relevant for Turkey – of this number, 1.3 million are officially registered as permanent workers, the rest are foreigners or informal workers, who account for almost half in resort areas. “During the pandemic, a trained workforce was lost. Qualified personnel left the sector,” they complained.
At the same time, Turkish experts complain that “it is impossible to raise prices for services in a spiral of excess supply and lack of demand.” Among the proposed measures, for example, to limit the ability to build new hotels: “Local governments should not allow the construction of new facilities if the level of occupancy in the region does not exceed a certain level,” they say.
“When we see a quality price spiral, we offer our tourism products cheaper than in other countries, sometimes even at a price below the real cost. This results in unplanned properties, even 5-star hotels and high-end resorts, receiving a smaller share of all-inclusive tourism revenue. And the resulting unfair competition is causing international tour packages to be sold below their cost,” Turkey complains. As a result, it is proposed to fight against “unplanned” and dumping prices. True, the measures are also abstract – literally the following is proposed: “creation and development of a new concept, support for boutiques and small businesses”, “creation of a model regulation of the all-inclusive system”, “pricing standard” and “increasing the variety of high value-added products that increase competition.”
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