Assessing the Increase of Turkey’s Tourism
Think of the world’s most visited destinations and you’ll probably think New York, London, Paris. Maybe the Pyramids of Egypt or the Sydney Opera House. However, it appears more and more people are turning to Turkey.
The Eurasian country enjoyed robust numbers last years and will continue to invest in its burgeoning tourism market in order to attract even more visitors in 2015 and beyond. The Tourism Support Package Report of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies suggests that the country hosted 38.6 million visitors last year, with plans afoot to increase this number over the next 12 months and even further in the future.
And to be honest, we can see why.
We at alpharooms have long been fans of the country and with more and more people visiting; we decided to take a look at exactly how Turkey is becoming a tourism hotspot.
The Year Ahead and the Challenges facing Turkish Tourism
The Tourism Support Package Report of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies has recently put forward extremely promising figures for tourist traffic in 2015 and beyond. In specific terms, Chairman Basaran Ulusoy is estimating that the country will welcome more than 42 million tourists by the end of the year, which in turn will translate into an estimated currency inflow of between $35 and $36 billion. To achieve this, Turkey will optimise its year-round appeal as a tourist attraction by ensuring that it promotes winter holidays in the region.
While Turkey may be renowned for its sultry Mediterranean climate, it also has a range of stunning mountains that can play a significant role in driving winter tourism. The popular Erciyes Ski Centre will also play a prominent role in this drive, as Turkish authorities look to raise awareness and educate travellers on what the country has to offer. The Ski Centre (and similar resorts throughout Turkey) is also pivotal as it is accessible for 365 days a year, meaning that the site welcome us all year round.
It appears that these efforts have paid off to date, with the loss of tourism from Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States having largely been offset. So although there was a tourism decline of 3.5% during January and February (with biggest loss coming from Russia with a staggering 26.5% drop), Turkey managed to see an increase of 5.4% in tourism traffic overall during these months. This is a remarkable achievement, while the trend is likely to continue as Turkey continues more visitors from elsewhere.
The Importance of Tourism to the Turkish economy
The efforts that have been made to strengthen Turkey’s holiday appeal as a destination that underlines the importance of international travel to the economy. After all, Turkey’s greatest asset is its diversity of terrain, combining ruins to rival those in southern Italy and Greece, an estimated 7200 kilometres of scenic coastline, and a variable climate that offers something to every conceivable type of visitor. With such natural splendour and diversity, Turkey is well placed to profit significantly from tourism.
This is reflected in the rise of the south as an increasingly popular visitor port. While Istanbul remains the single most popular and widely used entry point into Turkey, regions in the south have seen an enormous uptake in visitor arrivals since 2011. Driven by huge investment into the development of Antalya (which is now established as Turkey’s second most visited city and recorded an impressive 11.5 million arrivals during 2014), Turkey now has multiple hotspots competing for the tourism trade. The south-western city of Mugla came in third, having welcomed an estimated three million travellers last year.
The Bottom Line for Turkey’s growth as a tourist haven
Altogether, Turkey is continuing to cement and further its reputation as one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. With the number of visitors to the nation having grown by an impressive 115.7% during the course of the last decade, the country now ranks as the world’s sixth most visited location after France, the U.S., Spain, China and Italy. It is also expected to overtake Italy and achieve fifth position by the year 2023, which a core strategic goal of the Turkish government.
The success of the Turkish tourism sector should serve as a template for similar nations to follow. After all, Turkey’s prime European location, diverse nature and rich heritage distinguish it as a considerable place of interest, and government bodies have invested in this to appeal to the global travel market. So while Germany and Russia have historically served as the most prolific tourist markets for Turkey, there is now a greater influx of visitors from all around the world.