The recent events in Turkey have brought into the spotlight the worrying instability of several Mediterranean countries. The difficulty to foresee what can happen in countries like Turkey is a significant hindrance to tourism growth.
Beyond the reasons that have contributed to this feeling of turmoil, the truth is that money has an aversion to risk. Like thousands of tourists have avoided Turkey as a possible holiday destination this year, this has also been the case for investors and hotel chains that are starting to wonder if it is reasonable to continue taking a chance on Mediterranean countries with increasing insecurity. During the last years, large hotel chains such as Iberostar, Riu, Barceló, Meliá, Hotusa or Room Mate are present in Istanbul, the capital, but also in sun and beach destinations such as Antalya. It’s possible that these companies and others that were considering the possibility of new projects, will now take some time before embarking on new adventures in Turkey.
It’s important to remember that Turkey had 17 million tourists in 2004, and 10 years later, that figure had gone up to a record 36,8 million. The country had turned into the most solid alternative because of its quality and price, when compared to other more traditional Mediterranean holiday destinations like, for instance, Spain. However, recent terrorist attacks and the failed coup have dropped revenues by possibly more than 15,000 million euros, as well as showing a decline in the number of tourists of up to 30%. The feeling is that Turkey may go through the same crisis as Egypt did.
The bad news in Turkey can turn into opportunities for “safe destinations”, among which, undoubtedly, is Spain. The sun and beach destinations, especially the Balearic and Canary Islands, Costa del Sol and Catalonia have been going through an excellent moment for the last three years, with record figures in visitor influx. This interest in the Spanish coast also benefits less familiar destinations such as the Costa Tropical and the coast of Almería. All of this generates the interest of investors and hotel companies that reinvest their assets to continue to compete with guarantees.
Events in Turkey are a lesson in the importance of continuing to invest in security, a key element in tourism development, as it represents 11,7% of the GDP of our country. This security must face difficult challenges such as international terrorism but also citizen insecurity in large cities.
If, aside from being a safe country, Spain can offer institutional and legal security, we would be offering a very positive and attractive scenario to international investors that value very highly the experience of a tourist industry that has been for years demonstrating its ability to attract and satisfy clients.