Turkey sees number of foreign visitors plummet after attacks

Tourism to Turkey dropped 10.32 per cent in February, data from the government on Tuesday showed, as the country reels from a series of bombings and conflict in the south-east.

Tourism Ministry data showed the drop, compared to the same month a year ago, followed January numbers, which were down 6.4 per cent year-on-year.

In total, 1.24 million foreigners came to Turkey in February this year.

A suicide bomber killed 12 German tourists in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul in January, sparking worries over security in the heart of the city's attractions. The attack was blamed on Islamic State.

This month, Islamic State was blamed for a suicide bombing on the main high street in Istanbul, Istiklal Boulevard, killing three Israelis and an Iranian.

Ankara has seen two massive car bombings this year, both claimed by a hardline Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).

Turkey's civil unrest in the mostly Kurdish south-east of the country flared up again last year, after a ceasefire collapsed. Turkey says the conflict has killed thousands of people, according to the government mostly Kurdish militants, since July.

A row between Russia and Turkey over the downing of a Russian plane near the Syrian-Turkish border has severely affected tourism from that country.

Reports in the media have indicated some major travel companies are signalling cancellations for the peak summer months, which could further reduce tourist numbers.

Last update: Tue, 29/03/2016 - 18:49

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