In 2011, Turkey attracted more than 31.5 million foreign tourists and was ranked as the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world.
In January 2013, the Turkish government announced that it will build the world’s largest airport in Istanbul. It’s estimated the country’s planning to invest around 7 billion Euros in this project.
However, after the scenes of violence and terror coming from the country’s most important city over the last couple of weeks, has the beacon of a bright, tourism funded future been extinguished?
The continuous flow of images captured and plastered online, in newspapers and in magazines across the world, could spell disaster for Turkey’s hard earned reputation.
With photographs showing police targeting political rioters with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets how many of us can honestly say we would still travel there with our families and friends?
Even though these activities may just be confined to one particular area or region, there’s no denying these pictures, shared in an instant through social media sites and news channels, have the potential to destroy decade’s worth of work which has established Turkey as one of the most important tourism spots in the world.
The extent of the damage to Turkey’s reputation will not be known until we are able to compare the visitor figures year on year, but the events of the past two weeks serve as an alarming reminder that the modern media has the power to make or break even the strongest of reputations.