Turkey moves to avert likely slump in 2015 tourism

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government anticipates a possible decline in the tourism sector in 2015 due to political and economic crises in nearby countries.

"The whole world says that the tourism sector may face serious trouble this year," he told a Justice and Development Party parliamentary group meeting Tuesday.

Davutoglu predicted a drop in the number of tourists, especially those coming from Russia and Iran.

He also said tourism is one of the key sectors of the Turkish economy.

"We have decided to support the tourism sector in two areas," he said.

First, the premier said, the government will give an additional fuel stipend of $6,000 for each airliner that carries tourists to Turkey via travel agencies.

Davutoglu also said the government will provide loans for tour operators to be financed by the state treasury.

According to the World Tourism Organization’s 2014 report, Turkey was ranked the sixth most popular world destination, attracting 5.5 percent more tourists in 2014 compared to 2013, despite political and geopolitical crises in the region.

The number of tourists visiting Turkey reached an all-time high of 37 million in 2014.

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