A Four Seasons Sultanahmet Hotel staff member disinfects a room as she checks the readiness of the hotel to the Healthy Tourism Certificate Program aims to convince travellers despite the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
ISTANBUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Turkish hotels are heavily indebted and need “serious support” paying back their loans as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the Hotel Association of Turkey (TUROB) said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a meeting on the sector’s outlook, Muberra Eresin said the association would meet with the Turkish Banking Association to discuss the debt issue in coming days.
Hotels need their payment installments postponed, she said.
Turkey’s tourism sector drives more than 10% of the economy, attracting hard currencies vital to offsetting a heavy trade deficit. Foreign arrivals this year rebounded strongly from to last year but remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
While the Russian market has performed well, Germany’s classification of Turkey as a high-risk country last month has hurt the sector. Britain’s red-listing of Turkey – which ended just last week – hit hotels relying heavily on the UK market.
TUROB’s Eresin said the average occupancy rate of hotels that have been able to open this season was 44% in the first eight months of the year, compared to 67% in all hotels in 2019.
She said 20% of hotels in Istanbul were still closed due to the pandemic and that they plan to open early next year.
Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer
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