Terror Strikes Blow to Tourism in Southeastern Turkey
(Zaman) - The escalating terror activities in southeastern Turkeys have had an adverse impact on the economy of the region.
The southeastern city of Mardin is most severely affected by the recent terror events, reports Trend.
The cradle of many ancient cultures, Mardin was a popular tourist destination prior to the recent events in Diyarbakir and Kiziltepe with just 25,000 visitors, down from 400,000 in 2005, losing a significant portion of the regions income from tourism.
Mardin Governor Mehmet Kiliclar reported that although no terror activities have been reported in Mardin, the whole region is considered to be dangerous.
Therefore, Mardin is also perceived to be under threat. A number of shops in the city have virtully closed t reservations have been canceled Kiliclar said.
He also held the media responsible for loss of tourism revenues.
Tourists are able to wander safely and freely in the city center until late at night Kiliclar said, adding that locals are friendly and hospitable.
Mardin Mayor Metin Pamukcu also informed that group tours to the city were canceled after the recent incidents in the region.
In fact, Mardin is one of the safest cities in the region, Pamukcu claimed. He cautioned the media not to exaggerate the events.
Sanliurfa is another regional city suffering economic losses due to the recent terror events, and there has been a considerable decrease in the number of tourists visiting the City of Prophets, famous for its Balikli Golu (Fish Lake).
Sanliurfa Trade and Industry Chamber Chairman Ismail Demirkol also complained about damage caused to the local economy.
Demirkol said: Unfortunately, all cities in the region are assumed to be dangerous for tourists.
Gaziantep Trade and Industry Chamber Chairman Mehmet Aslan said that even though the city of Gaziantep has been least effected by terror events in the region because of its geographical distance from actual attacks, it has seen a 30 percent decrease in the number of tourists in 2006.
Aslan continued: Terror events effect the region as a whole. Unfortunately Gaziantep has been negatively influenced by the events because of its proximity to the region.
But, thankfully, Gaziantep is the least effected city, however, even minor problems reflect on us.