Istanbul: Drinks companies and the tourism industry voiced opposition to Turkey’s plans to ban alcohol advertising and curb sales ahead of a final decision on the bill, saying it could hit tourism revenues and have little impact on alcohol abuse. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.
Turkey announced plans last month to ban alcohol advertising and stop shops selling alcohol from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Beer and spirits makers have said it is too early to determine the impact of the restrictions, but all criticized the plan.
Diageo, the leading spirits maker in Turkey and which bought local company Mey Icki in 2011, said on May 31 that cooperation between government, industry and interest groups was a better way to tackle alcohol abuse. Galip Yorgancioglu, managing director of Diageo Turkey, said in an emailed statement that regulation focusing on the realities of alcohol harm was better than a marketing ban that could affect tourism and other areas of commerce.
Pernod Ricard, the No. 2 spirits maker in Turkey, said it too was disappointed because it had not been consulted. “We are not convinced that this will reduce alcohol abuse,” a company spokesman said. Shares in Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes fell 7.6 percent and Turk Tuborg 2 percent on the day the restrictions were announced on May 24. They have since fallen a further 8.3 and 9.5 percent respectively.
Another drinks executive said that, even before the law had come into effect, some stores had already faced pressure to remove alcohol-related advertising. Foreign companies, he said, would think twice about investing in Turkey. Drinks companies estimate alcohol consumption per person in Turkey is 1.3 liters a year whereas the average is 10-11 liters in Europe and 16.5 liters in Russia.
Turkey’s tourism industry said the restrictions would hurt tourism revenues, a major economic sector. “Turkey’s medium-term goal for 2023 is to draw 50 million foreign visitors and $50 billion in revenues. To achieve this, revenue per tourist must increase to $1,000 from $800 now. However this is not possible by not selling drinks or restrictions on leisure,” said Timur Bayındır, head of Turkey’s TUROB tourism industry association. Turkish tourism drew revenues of $29.4 billion in 2012.