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Cablegate: Libyans Return to Izmir; They Are Welcome As Long As

R 061234Z JUN 91
FM AMCONSUL IZMIR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9204
AMEMBASSY ANKARA
INFO AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
AMCONSUL ADANA

UNCLAS IZMIR 0373


REF: IZMIR 335 (NOTAL)

E.O.12356: N/A
TAGS: ECON BEXP TU LY
SUBJECT: LIBYANS RETURN TO IZMIR; THEY ARE WELCOME AS LONG AS
THEY BRING DOLLARS

1. UNLIKE THE FIRST LIBYAN SHIP TO VISIT IZMIR AFTER A LONG HIATUS,
WHICH ARRIVED WITHOUT FANFARE, (REFTEL), THE SECOND SHIP ARRIVED TO
AN OFFICIAL GREETING BY THE MAYOR OF KONAK, AND REPRESENTATIVES
OF SEVERAL MERCHANT'S ASSOCIATIONS. THE DEBARKING PASSENGERS WERE
MET BY THE MUNICIPALITY BAND AND LOCAL OFFICIALS WITH WELCOMING
GIFTS. MAYOR SARISIN NOTED IN HIS REMARKS THAT AFTER SUCESSFUL
MEETING WITH THE LIBYAN AMBASSADOR IN ANKARA, AN AGREEMENT WAS
REACHED FOR REGULAR LIBYAN FERRY VISITS TO IZMIR WITH A GOAL OF ONE
SHIP A WEEK AND A PASSENGER TOTAL OF ALMOST TWO THOUSAND EACH
MONTH. LOCAL OFFICIALS OPTIMISTICALLY HOPE THAT THE LIBYAN
TOURISTS WILL LEAVE IZMIR MERCHANTS RICHER TO THE TUNE OF $50
MILLION EACH MONTH.

2. THE RESUMPTION OF THE LIBYAN FERRY SERVICE TO IZMIR IS WELCOMED
BY MANY IZMIR MERCHANTS, MANY OF WHOM FIND BUSINESS SLOW, PARTLY
DUE TO THE SLOW TOURIST SEASON. THESE LIBYAN FERRIES BRING
SHOPPING TOURISTS WHO COME TO BUY EVERYTHING FROM STAPLES LIKE RICE
AND FLOUR IN BULK, TO HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, CLOTHES AND LARGE
APPLIANCES. THEY ALSO BRING THEIR CARS, OFTEN PUSHING THEM OFF
THE FERRY FOR NEEDED REPAIRS. WE ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT MANY LOCAL
DENTISTS AND DOCTORS HAVE AN ACTIVE PRACTICE CATERING TO THESE
LIBYAN TOURISTS.

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3. COMMENT: WHILE THE EXPECTATIONS OF ECONOMIC BENEFITS FROM
THESE LIBYAN SHOPPING TOURS ARE SOMEWHAT INFLATED, THEIR PRESENCE
IS WELCOMED BY LOCAL MERCHANTS, ESPECIALLY DURING A SUMMER SEASON
WHEN MANY RESIDENTS OF IZMIR PLAN VACATIONS INSTEAD OF PURCHASES,
AND LEAVE FOR THEIR SUMMER QUARTERS ALONG THE SEA. WITH FEW
TOURISTS THIS YEAR, LIBYAN DOLLARS ARE DOUBLY WELCOME.


ZAJAC

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