Friday, February 03, 2006

K Street comes to Turkey

The Bush administration has a lot to offer Turkey in how to cope with the effects of bird flu, and the Turks are clearly apt pupils. Indeed the US has praised Turkey for their vigorous response and believes the problem is subsiding.

How did they do it?
As reservation annulments took place due to the bird flu, Turkey's tourism sector members and state officials took action. A statement reading "There is no danger in Turkey" released by the World Health Organization proved to be the remedy needed. Attempts to spread the word abroad produced results and tour operators have started to make new reservation deals: "If this goes on, we can reach the target for 2006," they said.

The bird flu emerged in Turkey before the Feast of Sacrifice holiday and caused the death of four; tourism reservations immediately took a nosedive and the sector entered a bleak period. (Zaman)
This is an inspiring story. As tourist reservations for Turkish resorts started to plummet, the Tourism Ministry went on high alert, compiling and disseminating comfort-giving information from the EC, WHO and other sources.
Turkey's public relations consultants communicated these reports to the relevant parties and foreign travel agencies. The Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Atilla Koc and his team formed a crisis desk during the holiday and worked around the clock on preventative measures.

The bird flu, or Avian Influenza, even led hotels to change their menus. Eggs and chicken were taken off the menu, and red meat and fish only served at hotels in Antalya.

The lobbying activities of the tourism sector and state quickly had positive repercussions in the international arena.

Travel agency associations in Russia, The Netherlands and the UK especially, announced in their travel bulletins that traveling to Turkey is not dangerous.
This is a wonderful example of how governmental command of sources of information and terms of debate so successful in US politics can be adapted and used in the fight against bird flu.

Karl Rove to replace David Nabarro as UN bird flu czar? Why not? He's already running the US program.