Ankara, Aug 21 () - The new school year in Turkey has been postponed by two weeks upon requests from the tourism sector in an attempt to recoup losses suffered over the summer.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Aug. 20 that the planned reopening date for schools has been rescheduled from Sept. 14 to Sept. 28 in line with requests from the tourism sector.
The end of the school year has also been shifted to June 17, 2016, the Education Ministry said in a note.
The tourism sector has seen declining tourist and income figures this year due to a number of factors, including the economic crisis in Russia, as well as rising security concerns in Turkey.
Foreign arrivals fell 2.25 percent to 14.89 million people in the first six months, data from the Tourism Ministry showed.
Turkey’s tourism income also decreased by 13.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, down $7.73 billion compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK).
Due to lower than expected revenue over the summer, the mayors of three Aegean resort towns in Muğla called on the education and tourism ministries to postpone the start of the school year by two weeks to include the Feast of Sacrifice holiday from Sept. 24 to 27.
This call was later supported by many tourism organizations, including the Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB).
TUROB President Timur Bayındır said it was alarming that the decrease in the number of tourists visiting the country decreased by almost 5 percent compared to the same month of the previous year.
“We also expect to see dramatic decreases in the official figures for July and August. According to our projections, Turkey will close the year with lower tourist numbers compared to 2014. And it seems unlikely that it will [just] see single-digit decreases in the current situation” he said Aug. 20.