Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Becoming a Tourism Expert in Ukraine

This is one of those pieces that should have been posted during my long absence- it sat in my drafts for two weeks, and is now seeing daylight thanks to my archiving efforts. I am posting it to the original date it was intended for- i.e. when the article appeared on Kommersant:

I was contacted by Anton Semyzhenko, journalist at Ukrainian business daily Kommersant, for a few questions and an interview on Turkish tourism on August 2- they had struggled finding a Turkish tourism professional willing and able (in English) to talk to them- no sarcasm here, the human capital in the sector is one of the focal points in the tourism column I will be writing in the next few weeks. They had some specific questions and were also wondering if I was willing to grant them an interview. As a last hope to save the article, they had asked for help from the Hurriyet Daily News Economics editor, who had given them my email. 
Being your friendly neighborhood economist, I told them they were in luck, as not only I was an economist, but also was involved in our family business, which is a hotel in Marmaris as Facebook friends would know- and accepted their request. You can see the results of the half-an-hour interview by clicking here. And if you are wondering how the thing looked like in hard copy, here's the interview:
By the way, the table at the bottom of the article in the hyperlink is expenditures per tourist numbers, which I sent to Anton to support my point that the increase in incoming tourists was not reflecting as increased profits. That table, as well as, the two graphs below (somehow, they are not in the web edition) are all from my good friends at Turkey Data Monitor, who are about to launch the version 2 of their excellent product:
Anyway, just last week (I am writing these lines in the afternoon of August 15), I got contacted by Anton again, who wanted to get my thoughts on the recent decision by the Rixos group to discontinue with the all-inclusive concept at a couple of their hotels. I told them why they could do that in some of their hotels but not others as well as give them a few more tips. Since I only spoke for a few minutes, I did not follow up to see under what capacity my comments had appeared.

So, it is now official: Although I don't speak a word of Ukrainian, I have become a Turkish tourism expert in Ukraine:)... But if a group of hillbilly Jewish American soldiers can pull off (please be patient with the hyperlink, as it takes ages to download, since youtube is banned in my beloved country, this was the only link I could find) acting as an Italian film crew without speaking a word of I-talian, I don't see why I can't:)

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