Skip to main content

Interview with Bulut Bağcı, Founder of World Tourism Forum Institute

Although the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak affects many places, in particular public health, the tourism industry is one of the most highly impacted areas during this process, which accounts for 13% of its GDP and primarily leads to the closure of the current account deficit.

The president of the World Tourism Forum Institute, Bulut Bagci, said in his exclusive interview with Turkish Euronews that Turkey had a decrease of 80% in the tourism sector owing to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The World Travel and Tourism Council predicted that 50 million workers in the worldwide tourism field will remain unemployed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

However, this number will grow to 75 million for Bagci if it covers tourism industries. According to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ‘s latest coronavirus behavior declared on Friday evening, foreign flights were also completely terminated.

A transition to red alert

The flight restrictions and cancellations have led domestic tourism experts in Turkey to a red alert status. Nearly a million workers are working in the tourism and tourism industries in Turkey. It also adds greatly to reducing unemployment statistics in Turkey.

“80% of tourism firms closed the shop and took their workers for free leave, and the industry is dwindling by 80%, even though the spread of the virus would stop absolutely in June, the industry needs to have a recovery wait at least until August. period of time, the maximum turnover is determined.” Bagci says.

The first free market to be open will be Russia 

Bağcı said that the world has not been experiencing such a crisis in the past and that thus the authorities have trouble reflecting successfully and quickly, Russia is the first market to be opened when bilateral relations do not raise any political issue when the crisis ends. Since Turkey is Russia’s number one tourist destination.

Turkey welcomed 51.7 million tourists in 2019, and received a total of 34.5 billion dollars, according to official figures of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Russian Federation was among the most tourists coming to Turkey in the list. The following countries are Germany, Bulgaria, Britain and Iran.

‘Let’s ignore the European wholesale sector this year and let’s reflect on our plans for 2021. I’m anticipating local visitors, but returning tourist incomes may not imply anything in the region. We’ve had a serious foreign-currency input along with foreign tourism visitors and covered most of the current tourism account deficit.’

Turkey ‘s tourism income totaled $34.5 billion over the past year.

The government priorities

So what are the aspirations of government tourism industry professionals?

By naming the priority area of tourism Bağcı intends to concentrate on this area in subsidies and loans:

“The tourism business is the first to rebound positively by the moment the recession finishes. For instance, after the recession is finished, the building sector doesn’t spend promptly. Accordingly, our diplomatic representatives abroad are carrying out an active promotional drive, promoting health initiatives that we have adopted within the tourism sector.

In the other side, a dramatic shift in human travel and shopping habits is anticipated with the epidemic of coronavirus. For eg, people started to consider the risks of being sick from buffet choices in all-inclusive hotels. This method may even alter travel meanings.

Hotel health, SPA and other associated social areas are currently closed because both cost savings and sanitation issues are concerned.

Radical improvements in the hospitality and transport industries

Bagci insists that in the tourism industry sanitation would substitute luxury.

“Airlines are no longer going to ship citizens like fish-harves. We foresee improvement across the globe. If tourism stakeholders read this social change well and will turn themselves appropriately, they are going to thrive.”

“For example, any potential client would get the carpet in the hotel room disinfected, so people’s standards get shifted in this way. As organic food is common, as cases in cancer rise, the attention now shifts to hygiene. Airline companies and lodging facilities would be hygiene oriented.

The phase calls for the adaptation of other tourism operators to new circumstances. In September 2019, for example, Bağcı talks about the factors behind Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company:

“With climate change in Europe, the shopping patterns of citizens have shifted, they have not been making early sales and they don’t feel like holidays. Thomas Cook has still failed due to the consequences on the business of climate change.”