Tourists Still Pour In Turkey Despite Riots

While Turkey’s tourism sector appears to have negatively affected by protesters and riot police clashing for days in Istanbul, the country gained a new type of tourists: police officers from other countries.

Cancelled flights

© CE/EC Flag of Turkey 6/12/2003Flights were cancelled and more than 40 percent of hotel reservations were postponed amid the latest social unrest and police reactions in Turkey. “The protests have made many foreign tourists uncomfortable, mainly around Gezi Park and Taksim Square in Istanbul, which attracts much more [business and culture] tourists than Turkey’s other cities,” Osman Ayık, president of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation said.

New tourists

The commotion in Turkey may have affected the country’s tourism, but it gained new types of tourists in its territory. Security tourists, namely police forces started to arrive in the country to help in the peacemaking. “We are even seeing an extra fullness at the hotels in Turkey’s capital city Ankara, due to the on-duty police forces, who have moved into Ankara from other cities for the protests,” said Seçim Aydın, president of the Anatolia Tourism Operators Association.

Top tourist destination

Attracting more than 37.7 million visitors in 2012, Turkey is among the top 10 most popular tourist destinations in the world. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, over 5.2 million visitors have arrived in the country this year, a nearly 14 percent increase over the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, some 378,000 U. S. residents visited Turkey in 2011, the latest year in which figures become available. Despite the riots, museums, monuments, and ancients treasures remains open for visitors and guests.