Impact of Ankara Attack on the Turkish Economy and Tourism
On Wednesday 17th of February, Turkey was again the victim of a blast in the capital Ankara, leaving at least 28 people dead and 61 injured. Turkey has been hit by multiple of attacks in recent months, and there were already strong concerns that the country could be targeted by further stronger attacks. Although it is not for the moment clear who was behind the blast in Ankara, strong suspicions from the Government and the security forces go towards both the Islamic State (IS) and militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The explosion in the very heart of Ankara is expected to impact negatively not only on inbound flow to Turkey on the short-to-medium term, but also on the country’s economy. The blast took place at a very strategic location, close to the Parliament and important Ministerial entities and the concern here is that this location is supposed to be the most secured in the country. The other recent explosion which occurred in the deep centre of Istanbul already resulted in strong travel restrictions and flight banned towards the destination, this new blast will intensify those elements.
Tourism industry in Turkey is predicted to suffer from the recurrent attacks on tourist spots those past years. The country was already on alert after 103 people were killed in October 2015 when two suicide bombers attached a group of activists in Ankara. Visa allowances are also likely to get restricted and borders securities tightened as the operation was blamed on Islamic State. Kurdish splinter group, the Freedom Falcons of Kurdistan, as well as insurgents from PKK (separatist organisation seeking Kurdish autonomy) are also under watch since the freedom movement claimed responsibility for Istanbul second international airport attack last 23 of December 2015.
The Turkish economy is suffering from the multiple attacks and geopolitics tensions in 2015. After reaching $35 billion in total tourism revenues in 2014, Turkey’s tourism profits fell by 4.4 % to $12.29 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Turkey was in 2014 the world’s sixth most attractive destination, with a record of 42 million visitors. Outbound figures started to decline after the EU imposed sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine in 2015, impacting on the Russian flow towards Turkey – 4.5 million Russian tourists visited Turkey annually until 2015. After the suicide bombing killing 32 people in the Turkish town of Suruc last July, nice countries including Germany and Russia issued travel restrictions to their citizens.
Euromonitor expects a slow Economic and tourism rebound in the context of the virtual loss of Russian flow, volatility in Turkish markets and uncertainty in domestic politics combined with rising security concerns. Turkish lira lost about 30% of its value against the US dollar just in the first nine months of 2015.