İbrahim Halil Korkmaz, Chairman of İHK Holding, while invited all the tourism sectors representative to fight against terrorism also stated that the political tension between Turkey and Russia is actually based on economic factors.
Between 4-6 February 2016 World Tourism Forum was organized in Istanbul under the Turkish Presidential Aegis. As one of the keynote speakers İbrahim Halil Korkmaz, Chairman of İHK Holding, has emphasized the importance of the whole World fighting against the terrorism threat as a unity. Furthermore, he also expressed that if the terrorist attacks happen in New York, in London, in Madrid, in Paris or in İstanbul we should react together as one voice.
“Economic insufficiencies are the major reason, politics has been used as a tool.”
The trade volume between Turkey and Russia used to be 31 billion USD while it dropped to 21 billion USD today. Taking into consideration the fact that Russian tourists consist of the 12% of tourist arrivals, a lose of 3 billion USD is obvious.
Korkmaz, who analyzed how the Turkish- Russian relations are effected by the current relations stated the reason are mainly economic rather than political and continued as followed: “for the last two years, not only the purchasing power of the Russian citizens decreased but also unemployment rate and the index of unhappiness have dramatically increased. Therefore, the Russian government is trying to distract the attention from the economic facts by creating artificial enemies.”
Korkmaz who expressed that Russia created aritificial tension starting with Georgia, Ukraine, European Union and Turkey is now facing serious reaction from the Russian citizens also said that “the perception management strategy of Russia is a political game and its reasons are purely economic”
“We need to improve competitiveness by increasing our brand value.”
Korkmaz, summarized his throughts about overcoming the current crisis and looking for new markets during the criris management period as below:
“It is an inevitable fact that we need to find new markets in order to cover the loss of the Russian tourists. Additionally, we need to focus on new markets. Besides the new markets, we should also review our current relations with the countries that we haven’t been using the potential efficiently and try to enhance sustainable relations. Even though Turkey is at the 6th rank in the arrivals of tourists, it is at the 12th rank when it comes to the tourism incomes. Therefore, it is inevitable that we should improve the brand value of our country. In order to increase the income of tourism sector it is significant to take these factors into consideration, which will also play role in creating new markets. Still Europe and USA are the most popular markets. However, in accordance to the new economic and political developments, Indian and Chinese tourists travel the most. Furthermore, every geography has its own market opportunities. For example, since we are improving our political relations with Israel this will also lead to a significant contribution to the tourism sector”.
“Tourism sector has the least import input”
Korkmaz who draw attention to the balance of import and export has continued as followed: “Tourism sector has the least import input. Even though the tourism sector representatives are not categorized within the exporters we are proud of providing this in practice. The importance of the fact that tourism sector provides more than 35 billion USD foreign currency cannot be ignored. Therefore, we strongly and kindly ask for tourism sector to be accepted as an exporting sector and should be subjected to export drive.”