The Turkish government is postponing the beginning of the school year by two weeks, in an attempt to give a boost the country’s crucial tourism industry.
The decision to delay the school year comes as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrestles with a political crisis. Turkey’s tourism income declined by 13.8% in the second quarter of the year, down by $7.73 billion, according to government figures.
Turkish tourism has been hit from all sides—fewer tourists arrived from crisis-ridden Russia, and many from other parts of the world canceled trips due to increasing security concerns as the country stepped up its fight against ISIL in Syria and against the Kurdish PKK group in northern Iraq. Two militants launched an attack on the Dolmabahce Palace, a popular tourist destination in Istanbul, on Aug. 19, while a suicide bombing in July near the border with Syria killed 32 people.
Following calls from resort town mayors and the tourism industry, the school year will begin not on Sep. 14, but on Sep. 28, after the Eid al-Ahda holiday. The end of the school year was also shifted.
Tourism accounts for 12% of the country’s GDP (the global average is 9.8%), according to World Travel & Tourism Council, and brings in more income than any other sector except for retail and agriculture.