Is it safe to go to Turkey?
If you’ve read reports about the recent bomb attacks in Turkey, you may be feeling apprehensive about the safety of the country, especially if you are preparing for a holiday there.
Turkey has fallen victim to a number of high-profile attacks this year, the most recent coming last night when Istanbul’s Ataturk airport was targeted by a gun and bomb attack. So far it has been confirmed that 41 people have lost their lives, while at least 239 are reported injured.
Despite this horrendous atrocity, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not changed its stance on Turkey and the vast majority of the country remains safe in the eyes of the government; this advice includes popular coastal resorts where the majority of tourists holiday in Turkey. Visitors to the coastal resorts do not fly through Istanbul or Ankara airports unless they have booked their own flights with a connection in those cities.
It’s vital to stress that the coastal resorts along the Med, where the vast majority of the 2.5 million Brits who visit the country each year travel to, are unaffected by this tragedy and many miles away from the cities. In Turkey’s popular coastal resorts, such as Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye, it is business as usual with tourism continuing on as normal.
If you are planning a holiday to Turkey, please check advice before travelling. More than 2.5 million British nationals visit Turkey every year and nearly all of these trips are completely trouble-free.
Past issues and the impact on tourism
Back in 2013, Turkey witnessed a number of high-profile demonstrations in relation to the current government’s policies and the actions of the country’s then Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A plan to redevelop a park in central Istanbul adjacent to Taksim Square sparked the unrest. Istanbul, the capital Ankara and a number of other major towns and cities in the country were affected by the demonstrations, but tourism remained largely untroubled in the country as a whole.
As demonstrations are not uncommon in Turkey, the FCO advises tourists to avoid large gatherings in any area of the country to ensure they don’t get caught up in any protests or crowd control issues.
Is it safe to travel to Turkey?
In Turkey’s popular coastal resorts, such as Bodrum, Antalya and Fethtiye, it’s business as usual with tourism continuing on as normal. There has been little impact on Brits’ desire to book holidays to the popular Mediterranean coastline, famous for its stunning scenery, warm blue seas, friendly welcome and historical sights.
However, if you’re concerned about booking a holiday there, I would recommend booking an ATOL-backed package to protect yourself should the situation change and the safety of tourists become a concern.
If this was to happen, the FCO would change its advice to warn against all travel which triggers a well-rehearsed plan to remove holidaymakers from the country and to stop new holidays starting until things calm down. ATOL-backed breaks offer protection against situations such as this and you would get a full refund if your holiday was cancelled or some compensation if it was cut short.
If you plan to book a DIY break consisting of separate flights and accommodation this is where I’d be very cautious as you are reliant on the airline and hotel policies for cancellations which may well leave you out of pocket. So, be aware of this if you prefer the non-package option.
What if I already have a holiday booked to Turkey?
For now, continue planning your trip and look forward to it. It is highly likely that everything will go as planned. However, make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover you in case civil unrest escalates to strikes at airports or other tourist-related industries which may affect your holiday plans.
I want to cancel my holiday – what are my rights?
Currently, if you choose not to travel, you are liable for normal cancellation charges which could be as much as 100% of your holiday cost. Check this with your tour operator, travel agent or airline/accommodation supplier for accurate costs. You would not be able to claim any loss back from an insurer if you choose not to travel.
If the FCO did change its advice and warned against all travel to the country, then, of course, you would be able to cancel all ATOL-backed holidays affected, while some airlines would look to offer free cancellations or transfer passengers to new dates or destinations.
Any other advice?
Keep an eye on the news and, closer to your departure date, talk to your travel provider for their latest advice. Additionally, leave organising your holiday money until closer to when you plan to travel to avoid any unnecessary exchange losses if you are unable to go.
Originally Posted HERE