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German holiday bookings to Turkey start to recover: minister

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German travellers' bookings for summer holidays in Turkey have started to recover and could bounce back from a hit they took after a suicide bombing in Istanbul in January, Turkey's tourism minister said.

[BERLIN] German travellers' bookings for summer holidays in Turkey have started to recover and could bounce back from a hit they took after a suicide bombing in Istanbul in January, Turkey's tourism minister said.

"There was a strong recovery in March. We expect that we will have made up for the decline in April and May," Mahir Unal told journalists in a news conference on Thursday.

Turkey is especially popular with German tourists, but has seen demand fall after a suicide bomber killed 10 Germans in Istanbul in January.

Last week, German travel association DRV said German summer bookings for Turkey were down 40 per cent year-on-year.

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Turkey's tourism sector, which accounts for about 4.5 per cent of the US$800 billion economy, has also been hit by tensions with Russia and multiple security threats.

Last month it unveiled a plan to support the sector, including a 255 million lira (US$88 million) grant and a facility to allow tourism firms to restructure debt.

Fuel subsidies for tour operators of $6,000 per flight, announced in January, would continue beyond their initial horizon in April/May, Unal said on Thursday.

He also repeated that Turkey did not want its tourism sector to lower prices to lure back travellers to avoid making concessions on quality.

REUTERS