Cruise ships sail away from Turkish ports following Istanbul bombing
Celebrity, Disney, Norwegian, Costa, Ochiana Region Seven Seas, MSC and Crystal Cruise operators have canceled lucrative stops in Turkey. (The Cruise Ship.tr)
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Cruise ships have opted to cancel journeys to ports in İstanbul, İzmir and Kuşadası in light of a bombing that killed 10 in İstanbul's Sultanahmet Square earlier this month, according to a report from the Cihan news agency.
After Celebrity Cruises and the Disney Cruise Line announced the cancelation of stops in İstanbul and Kuşadası, the Norwegian, Costa, Ochiana Region Seven Seas and Crystal cruise operators recently decided to make cancelations of their own, accounting for a total of 75 aborted tours, while the MSC company canceled 36 stops in İzmir.
With each cruise ship holding between 2,000-3,500 tourists, small business owners relying on tourism income have become quite concerned.
Cruise companies have replaced Kuşadası and İstanbul with Rhodes and Athens in Greece, and tourist agents are revising their expectations. A total of 550 ships took nearly 700,000 tourists to Kuşadası last year, and sector estimates had that number increasing to 1 million this year, though the cancelations in light of the bombing that struck the heart of İstanbul's tourist district threaten to bring figures to lower than their 2015 numbers.
“Turkish tourism has entered a very troublesome period. There isn't anything to do but hope that it won't get any worse. A reversal of the present cancelations does not seem to be in the cards,” Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TÜRSAB) Kuşadası Executive Council Chairman Fahrettin Çiçek told Cihan on Thursday.
The terrorist attack has only added to the mounting troubles of Turkish travel agents and hoteliers. It comes after Turkey's downing of a Russian plane late last year, which could drastically reduce the already diminished number of Russian tourists coming to Turkey. Russians had flocked to Turkey in high numbers, particularly to the Mediterranean coast, prior to the falling global oil prices resulting in a flailing ruble.
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