China virus sends shockwaves across travel sector, including in Turkey

China virus sends shockwaves across travel sector, including in Turkey

Tourism industries in many countries around the world, including Turkey, are bracing for a heavy hit amid a deadly virus that has prompted travel restrictions in China and is sending shockwaves across the industry, which has become increasingly reliant on big-spending visitors from China, Daily Sabah reports.

Turkey, which has been enjoying growing numbers of Chinese visitors, is facing cancellations in February tour bookings, according to tourism officials, who say the outbreak will impact the arrival of Chinese tourists.

"Tour package sales in China are at standstill," said Hamid Kuk, a board member at the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB). Sales at travel agencies fell by 50% last week, Kuk told Turkish daily Dünya on Tuesday, warning that travel restrictions would bring this figure to 100%.

He stressed that 5,000 holidays were canceled last week, corresponding to the arrival of around 10,000 Chinese tourists, adding that cancellations could increase to 20,000 this week.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey jumped by 9% in the first 11 months of 2019, reaching 403,739, according to official data. Turkey was looking to reach 1 million tourists in the coming period, a target agreed upon by both Beijing and Ankara.

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