SAUDI ARABIA

Number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey fell by 23% last year

January 16, 2020
Saudi Arabia was among the top 10 countries sending tourists to Turkey over the past few years and now Turkey has lost that position due to the sharp fall in the number of Saudi tourists. — Courtesy photo
Saudi Arabia was among the top 10 countries sending tourists to Turkey over the past few years and now Turkey has lost that position due to the sharp fall in the number of Saudi tourists. — Courtesy photo

By Anas Alyusuf

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – As Turkey continues to pursue hostile policies dictated by its Brotherhood government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, many Saudis are turning their backs on the country and opting for other places as an alternative.

The move is in response to growing incidents of hate crimes targeting Arabs, particularly Saudis and the lackadaisical attitude of the Turkish authorities in bringing the culprits to the book.

The recent anti-Arab attacks have caused a sense of deep insecurity among all Saudis who visit Turkish cities. The Saudi mission in Ankara, of late, has been receiving regular complaints from the citizens of lootings and fraud apart from other attacks.

Addressing their concern, the Saudi diplomatic mission has recently issued several statements, calling on its citizens to take utmost caution and vigilance in face of such threats.

As a result of these reckless and hostile policies of the Turkish government, there has been a steep decline in Saudi tourist outflow to Turkey.

According to the data collated by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, seen by Saudi Gazette, there has been a sharp decline of 23.19 percent in the number of Saudis visiting Turkey during the period from January to November 2019. A total of 539,786 Saudis visited Turkey during this period as compared to 702,725 in 2018.

Commenting on the development, representatives of tourism agencies operating in Saudi Arabia told Saudi Gazette that the recurring incidents of looting, fraud, and other assaults experienced by Saudi tourists in Turkey have prompted a number of travelers to abandon their plans to visit Turkey.

Saudi Arabia was among the top 10 countries sending tourists to Turkey over the past few years and now Turkey has lost that position due to the sharp fall in the number of Saudi tourists, they pointed out while referring to Turkey’s official statistics.

The sharp decline in the number of Saudi tourists started ever since the beginning of the political campaign led by the Turkish government against the Saudi government in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

As a matter of fact, Turkish Interior Minister had recently threatened that Saudis and Germans, who criticize the Turkish government, would be arrested upon their arrival at the airport. However, the Turkish embassy later tried to play it down.

The official figures issued by the Turkish government revealed that there has been a decline in the Arab and international demand for tourism in Turkey, contrary to what is being reported by Turkish or Arab media close to Ankara.

In view of the growing fraud cases relating to investment, the Saudi embassy in Ankara has also issued an advisory to its citizens who have either invested or planning to invest in Turkey. In its advisory, the embassy has stressed the importance of knowing methods of buying and selling, and urged the citizens not to be drawn into any unreliable marketing that might lead them to being exposed to fraud and cheating.


January 16, 2020
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