German Summer Bookings for Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia Drop 40 pct

German summer bookings for Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have dropped by 40 percent, reflecting tourists' concerns over security. In January, more than a dozen Germans were killed after a suicide attack in Sultanahmet, Turkey's most popular tourist districts. February 20, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT, March 4- German travellers’ bookings for summer holidays in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have dropped around 40 percent compared with a year ago, reflecting tourists’ concern over security, German travel association DRV said on Thursday.

Once-popular destinations such as Egypt and Tunisia have suffered a series of attacks including the suspected bombing of a Russian aeroplane and a shooting at a beach resort, forcing tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook to seek alternatives.

“Overall, bookings are currently down by a single-digit percentage, and that decline is due to the fact that we have bookings in these volume markets that are not satisfactory,” DRV President Norbert Fiebig told journalists.

Turkey, traditionally popular with German tourists, unveiled a plan last week to support its tourism sector, including a 255 million lira ($87 million) grant and a facility to allow tourism firms to restructure debt.

Fiebig said bookings for summer holidays in Turkey were down 40 percent year-on-year. Declines in Egypt and Tunisia were at about the same level and in some areas a bit worse, he said.

He said, though, that bookings for these destinations had significantly improved over the past two weeks and he expected a rally over the coming weeks.

“Our goal is that bookings overall won’t be significantly below the 2015 level. But that is nearly entirely dependent on how these three volume markets develop, especially Turkey and Egypt,” he said.

Bookings to Greece have meanwhile held up well overall, despite the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants. “Of course there are some islands that are especially affected, like Lesbos and Kos. But overall we are still seeing a decent development in Greece,” Fiebig said.

($1 = 2.9227 liras)

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