The impact of the Ankara bombings on travel

November 18, 2015

“On October 10, 2015 at 10:04 local time, two bombs were detonated in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, as hundreds of activists gathered for a peace march.

The death toll was over 100 with more than 400 people injured. When tragedies such as these occur, there is undoubtedly an impact on tourism. Here we examine travel intent for Ankara, Turkey as a whole and two of its nearest competing holiday destinations, Greece and Cyprus, to see how this turmoil affected tourism.

Decline in travel intent for all of Turkey on the day of the bombings

Often, the impact on travel intent can be influenced by factors such as media attention. In some cases, events that garner a vast amount of coverage in the media can spark curiosity amongst travellers resulting in an increase in travel intent.

General interest in the keyword “Ankara” on Google Search spiked on October 10, the day of the bombings, and returned to normal on October 14. However, in terms of travel intent, Turkey is an almost by-the-book example of how instability impacts travel.

On the day of the bombings there was an 8% decline in daily travel intent volumes from UK travellers for all of Turkey. Ankara itself saw a 6% decline in UK daily travel intent volumes on October 10.

Other cities in Turkey showed an immediate impact with a 14% decline in daily travel intent for Antalya and a 13% decline for Izmir. We see a greater impact a few days later when online flight searches for Turkey plummet reaching its lowest level on October 13 with a daily decline of 14%.

On October 14, the location of the attack, Ankara, hits its biggest dip with a 12% drop in flight searches. Dalaman, shows the most severe decline on 15th October with a 19% drop in travel intent.

Tourism to Greece is Affected by Turkey Attacks

Looking at alternative holiday destinations in the region, Greece shows a rather constant decline of 4% week-over-week since the day of the attack, October 10. Travel intent to Greece dropped considerably on October 13 when flight searches from UK travellers declined by 8%. Turkey clearly shows the strongest decline in interest from UK travellers, however, it is clear there was a knock on effect to neighbouring holiday destinations.

There was little impact to Cyprus during the days following the bombings until just under a week later when there was a 7% decline in travel intent on 16th October. This continued to plunge to a 10% decline on the 18th.

Turkey_Travel Intent_Infographic_Sojern

Turkey Begins to Rebound Over a Week Later

From October 19, daily travel intent volumes begin to rebound with online flight searches shooting back up to 11% for all of Turkey and 10% for Ankara respectively.

According to a recent Deloitte report for the World Economic Forum, the pace at which travel recovers after political unrest or a violent event has “shortened significantly” over the last 15 years.

We have seen many instances of tourism rebounding after tragedies and economic instability. Greece has been going through a time of severe economic crisis resulting in a drop in traveller interest. However, as of 8th July, we began to see indications of a rebound in travel intent and it remained in the top 10 most popular destinations for Europeans, despite dropping by four places to position eight in Q2 this year.

It is important for travel professionals to stay abreast of events and situations that impact consumer behaviours towards certain destinations, and with big data we can see these effects in real time. Armed with this view, travel professionals are able to stay ahead of the game in knowing how to best respond to these fluctuations.”


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About Russell Young

Russell has worked in the online travel and tourism industry for over fourteen years. As APAC managing director, he leads Sojern’s APAC sales and account teams, expanding Sojern’s footprint in the Asian-Pacific market and developing global travel partnerships. With experience in a variety of progressive leadership roles, Russell has a proven track record of building deep sales and account competency and increasing revenues and profitability across a matrix environment. Prior to joining Sojern, Russell was the media director for lastminute.com, where he was responsible for strategy development, agency sales, and media in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Nordics.

Russell Young About the author

Russell has worked in the online travel and tourism industry for over fourteen years. As APAC managing director, he leads Sojern’s APAC sales and account teams, expanding Sojern’s footprint in the Asian-Pacific market and developing global travel partnerships. With experience in a variety of progressive leadership roles, Russell has a proven track record of building deep sales and account competency and increasing revenues and profitability across a matrix environment. Prior to joining Sojern, Russell was the media director for lastminute.com, where he was responsible for strategy development, agency sales, and media in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Nordics.