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Turkey’s economy needs boring reforms. Instead, it is getting quick fixes
LAST year Soner Tufan, straining to keep up with demand for guided tours around Istanbul, decided to move to spacious new offices. “Those were the days,” sighs Ali Emrah, his business partner. Despite running one of the top-rated tour-guide companies in Istanbul, they have seen daily inquiries about tours fall from 20 or 30 to three or four following a series of terrorist attacks in Turkey, the most recent on Istanbul’s main airport. Their expansion now feels like an error. Many tour guides, they say, are looking for new jobs.
Turkey’s tourism slump is already visible in deserted sights and empty hotels, but not yet in its economic statistics. Banks have restructured loans to the industry; non-performing loan ratios ...
“TOP ten Airbnb horror stories!” is a staple headline on certain list-based websites. Each litany of woe will usually include at least one tale of sexual debauchery, one of drug abuse and one of a soiled apartment. Sometimes, they manage to combine all three. “Home destroyed by Airbnb guest in ‘drug-crazed’ orgy,” is a fairly typical cross-head.Nightmarish experiences at these short-stay rented apartments are extremely rare, of course. Indeed, the prevalence of such lists says more about people’s suspicion of a fresh business idea than it does of any real new danger. (Drug-fuelled orgies in old-fashioned hotel rooms seldom end up on BuzzFeed.) The overwhelming majority of Airbnb stays are placid and pleasant. But a deep-seated conservatism has stopped big firms from embracing shared-economy accommodation as an option when booking trips for their employees. Corporations do not like unknowns; they prefer a set of standards they can trust. That is why they nudge travellers towards cookie-cutter concrete towers in the central business district.They are not always wrong to do so. Your columnist’s colleague tells of a business jaunt to Tel Aviv, in which she was booked into a bog-standard brand-name hotel. A woman on the same trip, however, had opted for an Airbnb. At 11.30 that night the colleague received an e-mail. The woman from the party explained that the ...
THE one thing we know for certain about the longer-term consequences of last month’s Brexit vote is that we don’t know what all those consequences will be. For the travel industry, that is especially true. Even so, hope is currently in short supply.Immediately after the referendum, airlines were lumped in with banks and property firms as the shares to sell. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has lost a third of its value since the results were announced on 24th June. That is only to be expected. It seems certain that outbound travel from Britain will take a hit. As the pound falls and the rest of the world becomes more expensive, and low business confidence causes firms to rein in corporate travel, fewer Brits will go abroad. (And that is before we factor in the unknowns, such as whether British carriers will be able to maintain unfettered access to EU skies.)The impact of Brexit on the number of people visiting the United Kingdom (if such a thing will still exist) is much less sure. But a gloomy note from Euromonitor, a research firm, suggests that the outlook might be just as bad. Europeans accounted for 73% of travellers to Britain in 2015. But, with Brexit also likely to harm economies across the rest of the continent, Euromonitor is forecasting that by 2020 there will be 5% fewer visitors to Britain compared with if there had not been a vote to ...