The massive earthquake that struck Turkey in February may not have led to country-wide destruction but it has resulted in some cancellations by worried travellers.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country’s central and southern regions – along with northern and western Syria – is said to be the deadliest in Turkey’s modern history due to its massive death toll of 48,000.
Turkey tourism sellers who turned up at ITB Berlin 2023 were eager to inform buyers and media representatives that the majority of their country is still safe to visit.
Aylin Ozsavas, CEO and owner, Fuego Travel, said 10 per cent of her bookings were cancelled as result of the news of the disaster. She emphasised that the media focus showered on the earthquake “is not good for Turkey and the travel sector”.
While Akay Travel Service has escaped from cancellations, spokesperson Alp Sargin told TTG Asia that that the number of reservations following the earthquake has declined slightly.
Sargin said: “The world has to know that the earthquake did not affect all of Turkey. Turkey has 81 cities, and there are many with no fault lines underneath, all of which are perfectly safe to visit.”
Ozsavas echoed: “We have so many other places to visit, like the Black Sea region, and Antalya.”
She added: “Tourism is incredibly important to Turkey, and we need tourists to return (so that some of the money) will flow towards the earthquake-hit region and help with its rebuilding.”
Ecehan Dolgun, spokesperson for Kusadasi Municipality, said the destination has suffered a handful of cancellations due to the earthquake. Fortunately, cruise ships have maintained port calls at Kusadasi, a major cruise port in the destination that serves as a jumping off point for travellers visiting Ephesus in Izmir Province.
Pointing to the map, Dolgun stressed: “Kusadasi is located very far away from the earthquake area. It’s on the western side of the country, nearer to Greece. It is very safe to visit.”