Travel and tourism organisations planning conferences in Turkey this year have pledged to go ahead as the country deals with the aftermath of the earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in southeast Turkey and Syria in February.
Antalya, in southern Turkey, is due to host the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) conference in early May. Airline association Iata will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) in Istanbul at the start of June. And Abta will host its Travel Convention in Bodrum, southwest Turkey, in October.
A GSTC spokesperson expressed “deepest sympathies to all affected by the devastating earthquakes”, confirming: “Together with the Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), we decided to hold the GSTC 2023 conference in May as planned.”
The GSTC noted Antalya is more than 500 miles from the disaster area and said: “Antalya was not affected by the earthquakes. It is safe. Visitors are welcomed and appreciated by locals and the tourism sector that relies on us.” The conference is scheduled to take place on May 9-12.
Iata confirmed its AGM and the associated World Air Transport Summit, scheduled for June 4-6 in Istanbul, would go ahead. Director general Willie Walsh said: “Turkey is a fantastic destination with a great aviation tradition and we look forward to meeting in Istanbul.”
Walsh noted last month: “This tragedy has deeply moved us and the world. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this horrific event.”
Abta’s Travel Convention in Bodrum is scheduled for October 30 to November 1. Chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Turkey is a hugely popular and important tourist destination and we’re very much looking forward to it hosting the 2023 Travel Convention.
“We’ve all been deeply saddened by the devastation. Travel and tourism will play an important role in supporting the recovery effort. We look forward to showcasing everything this destination has to offer and will be releasing details about this year’s convention soon.”
Intrepid Travel encouraged people to visit Turkey after raising more than $150,000 in its appeal to support victims of the earthquakes, which killed an Intrepid tour leader.
Intrepid EMEA managing director Zina Bencheikh told a Travel Weekly webcast: “The economy depends on travel returning. We have trips running and we haven’t seen any cancellations. None of our trips are impacted.”