06:22 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Police officers install security barriers at the historic Sultanahmet district, which is popular with tourists, after an explosion in Istanbul, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016

    Turkey's Tourism Tumbles: Terrorism, Kurdish Situation Take Toll on Travel

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    An ongoing wave of terrorist attacks in Turkey and the political standoff between Moscow and Ankara have prompted tens of thousands of tourists worldwide to steer clear of the country, causing huge financial losses for its tourist industry, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of summer bookings for 2016 is down 40 percent in comparison with 2015, while hundreds of Turkish hotels have been put up for sale due to low occupancy rates.

    The tourism industry accounts for over four percent of Turkey's gross domestic product and employs about seven percent of the country's working population, according to the media outlet.

    Turkey managed to triple its tourism-related revenues between 2001 and 2014, which reached a record $34.3 billion, the WSJ reports.

    However, the situation changed dramatically as Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) launched terrorist attacks against tourists visiting the country and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) clashed with the Erdogan regime, which is responsible for attacking Kurdish communities in both southeast Turkey and neighboring Syria. Turkish cities have witnessed numerous acts of terrorism in recent months, with both Islamist and Kurdish militant groups allegedly responsible.

    Tourism continued to decline after Russia banned package tours to the republic in the wake of the November 24 downing of a Russian Su-24 jet by Turkey; Ankara claims that the plane had violated Turkish airspace.

    According to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the country saw a 20 percent decline in tourism from Russia and the loss of almost 10 percent of its tourists from Europe in 2015.

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