As market leader to Turkey, Sunworld has been hit badly by the bad publicity and consequent downturn in bookings to the destination.
Press reports of terrorist activity by the Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK, mainly in Istanbul and Ankara, dented bookings in the first quarter of the year. However, the recent sentencing to death of PKKleader Abdullah Ocalan is not thought to have worsened the situation.
Sales support manager Louise Hutchinson reported that the operator’s business was down 15% on last year. She said: “There was such bad press publicity because of the arrest of the PKK leader and the situation in Kosovo that bookings to the eastern Mediterranean were considerably down.
“Obviously, this was an opportunity for us to take retailers over there so we could demonstrate to them through first-hand experience what a great destination Turkey is. We wanted to get rid of any misconceptions they might have had.”
She is forecasting a rise in bookings to Turkey following the trip. “We have not set a target, but the main reason for the trip was to raise the profile of Turkey among agents,” she said.
The educational included visits to Sunworld and Sunset Holidays’ featured properties in Icmeler, Turunc and Marmaris. Excursions took in Dalyan, Bodrum and Neilson sailing centres on the coast. Social events were also high on the agenda and included a Turkish night, bar crawl, boat trips, beach parties and Turkish baths.
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