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Tourists shun Turkey, visitor numbers slump in June

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By Euronews
Tourists shun Turkey, visitor numbers slump in June

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey plummeted by over 40 percent in June.

It was the biggest fall in tourist numbers in over two decades and comes amid tensions with Russia, a series of deadly bombings and the failed military coup.

It was Turkey’s 11th consecutive month of fewer foreign arrivals.

Some economists forecast tourism revenue could drop by a quarter this year, costing the country the equivalent of one percent of its gross domestic product.

While Ankara and Moscow have recently started to rebuild ties, visitor arrivals from Russia dropped 87 percent in the first six months of the year, the Tourism Ministry data showed.

Overall arrivals fell 40.86 percent year-on-year in June, with 2.44 million people arriving during the month.

Turkish airport operator TAV Havalimanlari Holdings has also announced a big decline in quarterly profits.

The company, which runs Istanbul’s main airport, saw net income slump 67 percent between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Terror attacks slow holiday demand

Geopolitical events mean travel firms have been suffering financially from an avalanche of cancellations.

Britain’s Thomas Cook cut its full-year profit target on Thursday saying it expected to report operating profit of 300 million pounds (355 million euros), compared with the forecast given in May of between 310 million and 335 million pounds.

Underlying operating profit in the quarter through to June fell 93 percent to two million pounds (2.36 million euros), from 30 million pounds a year ago.

The company said it has been reducing its exposure to Turkey, as well as Tunisia and Egypt, while increasing sales of holidays to other destinations such as the Canaries, Balearics and mainland Spain. It has found extra hotel rooms in those places, but that has not been enough to compensate.

Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean resorts and beaches are traditionally popular with European holidaymakers.

Thomas Cook and others have also been hit by the collapse in the value of the pound from the Brexit vote.