UN to help Turkey boost strug­gling tourism sec­tor

The Myanmar Times - - Business -

The UN World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion signed an agree­ment on July 22 with Turkey to help the coun­try boost its ail­ing tourism sec­tor af­ter a string of bomb­ings and a failed coup.

The Madrid-based UNWTO will pro­vide ex­pert ad­vice to help the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment with its com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy and mar­ket­ing, a spokesper­son said. The agency will also as­sist Turk­ish ef­forts to boost the num­ber of di­rect flights from key Euro­pean mar­kets, she added.

“Turkey is ab­so­lutely im­por­tant for us,” the UNWTO’s Jor­da­nian sec­re­tary gen­eral Taleb Ri­fai said af­ter he and Turk­ish tourism min­is­ter Nabi Avci signed the agree­ment in Madrid.

“The peo­ple of Turkey were very brave in de­fend­ing their democ­racy last week. It is our duty to­day to con­sol­i­date this ac­tion by sup­port­ing one of the most im­por­tant eco­nomic sec­tors of Turkey which is tourism,” Mr Ri­fai added.

“To­gether we are send­ing a mes­sage to the whole world. Turkey is back in busi­ness. Turkey is ready to re­ceive its vis­i­tors.”

Ma­jor cities in Turkey de­scended into bat­tle­grounds on the night of July 15 dur­ing a mil­i­tary coup at­tempt against Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

The upris­ing has fur­ther un­der­mined Turkey’s tourism in­dus­try, al­ready hit by re­peated sui­cide bomb­ings over the past year that have spooked vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing one in June that killed 47 peo­ple at Is­tan­bul’s main air­port.

Tourism em­ploys around 8 per­cent of Turkey’s work­force and is an es­sen­tial source of for­eign cur­rency.

Mr Avci tried to play down re­cent un­rest, say­ing that ji­hadist at­tacks were a global prob­lem that does not just af­fect Turkey.

He told re­porters that the failed coup – and the sub­se­quent crack­down that has seen tens of thou­sands of peo­ple de­tained and sacked – had “noth­ing to do” with tourism.

“Ev­ery­day life con­tin­ues com­pletely nor­mally,” he said. “This state of emer­gency will only af­fect those im­pli­cated in the coup at­tempt.”

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