It was with real sadness that we reported last week the failure of Jewel In The Crown Holidays – a well-loved Turkey operator that had been trading for almost 30 years.
It is the third such specialist to collapse in seven months, following Exclusive Escapes in August and Elixir Holidays in February, and a further 2,700 holidaymakers have had their summer holiday plans dashed.
Cruise lines have cancelled Turkey calls, Mark Warner and Neilson have pulled out of their beach resorts, and the big two have drastically slashed their capacity in the country.
And, as we report in our Analysis piece this week, other Turkey specialists are also admitting that sales are right down for summer 2016: couples and friends might be open to holidaying there, but the all-important family market is staying away.
This all puts a serious question mark over how Turkey can recover this year.
The frustration for British holiday companies operating to Turkey, of course, is that when you look at the FCO advice for the country, you’ll see a map that is overwhelmingly green in colour, with only areas on the border with Syria advised against.
Risk experts have said attacks upon tourists are relatively unlikely, and, to date, no British tourists have been caught up in incidents of any kind in Turkey.
It’s encouraging to hear the tourist board is planning a series of agent roadshows and fam trips in May, but with the peak summer season only three months away, it will need to pull out all the stops if it’s to succeed in challenging misconceptions about the destination and getting business back on track.
Two months ago, we revealed the 80 stores and businesses that have made the shortlist in our first-ever Top 50 Travel Agencies programme.
At the ceremony on April 25, we’ll be announcing the 50 that have made it into the Top 50 list in our inaugural year, but after visiting and interviewing all 80 amazing finalists ourselves over the last eight weeks, every agency on the shortlist is already a winner in our eyes.