Northern Ireland holidaymakers are shunning Turkey after terror attacks
Demand for summer holiday bookings to Turkey has slumped among Northern Ireland travellers after recent terrorist attacks, it's been claimed.
Doreen McKenzie, head of Northern Ireland travel agents Knock Travel, and regional representative of trade body ABTA, said: "There have been no enquires about that part of Europe in the last couple of months, which would be our peak booking period.
"People aren't looking for the cheapest deals to places like Turkey the way they would have been last year and have no desire or interest in it."
Instead, people were enquiring about holidays to the western Caribbean and Spain's Balearic Islands - which Ms McKenzie said were also seeing a jump in demand from countries like Germany, Russia and France.
Ms McKenzie spoke as travel giant TUI, which owns Thomson and First Choice, said its summer holiday bookings to Turkey had slumped by 40% after recent terrorist attacks. It also said holidaymakers were staying away from the country and turning instead to resorts in Spain and the Canary Islands.
But TUI said it had got off to a good start to its financial year and kept its guidance for a 10% rise in annual underlying earnings despite the impact from attacks in a raft of popular tourist destinations in recent months.
Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Paris, Egypt and Tunisia have hit the travel sector, with the outbreak of the Zika virus adding to the woes.
Friedrich Joussen, chief executive of TUI, said: "It is evident that there has been a significant shift in demand away from Turkey, with summer 2016 bookings to that destination currently down around 40%."
But he added: "We have delivered a good underlying performance in the first quarter in spite of the backdrop of geopolitical turbulence in some of our destinations." Demand for holidays in Turkey fell particularly in its German business.