“Last summer was very quiet in Turkey because the situation in Iraq and Syria has been putting clients off chartering here,” explains Cem Boz, managing director of Contact Turkey Yachting. “There haven’t been any cancellations but people are not booking up for the summer at all. They don’t understand that the conflict is very far away from any of the cruising areas – it’s worlds away.”
Boz adds that this lack of interest is particularly being felt from their US charter clients, who tend to book up far in advance, whereas they are expecting to receive last minute bookings this summer from the majority of their European clients.
Dogukan Boyaci, vice president of boutique charter company Pruva Yachting explains that he is also seeing a trend of charters declining in Turkey. “Some clients and charter brokers have the perception that Turkey is dangerous, but you come here and there is nothing,” he says. “As a result some clients don’t want to come here and they are choosing to charter our boats in Greece and Croatia instead, which are very nearby."
Boyaci also agrees that the political unrest is mostly discouraging their US clients. “I think Americans are more affected by the worldwide media,” he adds.
It seems that the Turkish charter market is suffering due to the unfair perception of the region’s instability. Those that SuperyachtNews.com spoke to with knowledge of the situation suggested that staying away was perhaps the wrong reaction as the cruising region remains safe, yet is reaping the benefits of value-for-money charters.