Published on Monday, April 4, 2016

Specialists under pressure to diversify as another Turkey operator fails

Diversifying is key to survival in today's uncertain market conditions, operators warned as another Turkey specialist failed.

Turkey and Goa specialist Jewel in the Crown Holidays ceased trading on Friday, blaming a 'challenging' Turkish market in the last two years.

The Crawley-based company, which claims to be the largest independent tour operator to Turkey with a capacity of 18,000 passengers, had been trading for 29 years.

Derek Moore, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said fellow operators were saddened to hear the news, although he stressed the company was not an AITO member.

"Market conditions are of course extremely trying at the moment, given the extent of the effect of political instability," he said.

He said specialist operators in AITO which have previously concentrated on single destinations have, in recent years, tended to diversify their programmes to make themselves less dependent on one market.

"In this way they survive to await better times," he said.

"Fortunately, whilst larger operators often have bed night commitments to worry about, and in some cases aircraft to move to different destinations, smaller specialist operators tend to be able to react more quickly to the vagarities of political unrest."

Zeikye Yucel, managing director at Discovery Collection, added: "Most tour operators in the past year or so have seen that Turkey would be a problem. All have looked at other destinations in order to keep momentum going. 

"It's hard for companies with just one destination, no matter which destination. For specialists who diversify, however, I can't see any danger.

"And, when Turkey picks up - and it will come back - Turkey specialists will be in a great position to move forward."

Anatolian Sky MD Akin Koc said it was devastating to see other Turkey specialists experiencing such difficulties.

"We must still try to do all we can to support our partners in the tourist industry in Turkey. It is a wonderful destination, with so much to offer tourists, so we must continue to hope that the impact of current events will be relatively short-lived," he said.

Jewel in the Crown was well established in Turkey and said it was sending holidaymakers to the destination when there were only five hotels in Olu Deniz and when Hisaronu was a small farming village without any hotels.

It also says it was integral to the launch of the first ever direct charter flights from the UK to Goa in December 1987.

The operator's directors contacted customers and its trade partners on Friday to tell them the sad news.

"The business to Turkey has been challenging for the last two years," they said.

"We had hoped that the political situation in Turkey would improve but sadly this has not happened."

The company, which also trades as Jewel of Turkey and Jewel of Goa, said there are currently no passengers overseas but there are some forward bookings. It did not disclose how many.

"We would like to apologise to both our UK and overseas staff, our loyal clients, our UK travel agents, our hoteliers and our overseas agents, and thank them for all their help over the last 29 years," it added.

The failure comes after Turkey specialist Elixir Holidays ceased trading in February with around 300 forward bookings. The London-based operator was set up in 2004.

Jewel in the Crown customers or agents holding bookings may submit a claim to either ATOL (reference 3906) or their credit card providers if applicable.

For further information please visit

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