It’s fair to say that 2016 was not an easy year for tourism in Turkey but hope is renewed via a recent press statement from the General Manager of Sun Express Jens Bischof stating that “he is confident that there will be a turn around to Turkish travel by holiday makers wanting affordable holidays at good prices” Sun express was one of the main airline companies flying passengers into both the Aegean and Mediterranean resorts of Turkey in 2016. This news gives hope for an improved season for 2017 and also that flights will not decrease but remain frequent throughout the season. The Turkish tourism economy did take a hit in 2016, however, die hard lovers of Turkey remained loyal and still visited their favourite resorts, hopefully, this year will bring first-time holiday makers to Turkey to experience all that Turkey has to offer including welcoming Turkish locals. Already seen are a boost of visitors from both Israel and Russia this year and officials report that 1 million foreign tourists visited Turkey in January alone and Istanbul proved to be the main destination.
It’s not just foreign visitors that Turkey wishes to see in their resorts this summer, there is a drive to lure locals into visiting popular seaside resorts too. In 2016 more than 6 million Turkish tourists travelled across Turkey for their summer breaks and in 2017 the expectation of local tourists aims to be in excess of 10 million. The share of local travellers in our European competitors is around 25 percent, but we have not been able to surpass 15 percent yet. We should see 25 percent, too,” said the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), Osman Ayık, as quoted by Anadolu Agency on April 26. “More than $85 billion investments were made in Turkey’s tourism sector. The rise in the number of tourism investments has also fuelled infrastructure and airport investments across the country. Our tourism sector has been in front of its counterparts in the surrounding region for 20-25 years,” he said. Antalya was a particular favourite destination in 2016 with over 6.3 million visitors staying in this ever popular Mediterranean holiday resort and numbers are expected to rise again for 2017.
On a positive note, a boom in recent bookings for Turkey from Russian tourists has seen an increase to around 3 million wanting to visit Turkey again especially the Alanya and Antalya region. Gazipasa airport welcomed its first flight from Russia early into the season on April 21st a representative for the company announced, with an ideal transfer of only 28 miles (45km) from the airport to the centre of Alanya it’s an attractive holiday destination. There will be flights from Moscow to Gazipasa three times a week until November and the goal is to achieve 10 million passengers per year using a fleet of 30 aircraft by 2018. On average more than 2.5 million British tourists visit Turkey each year and expectations are they will continue to visit in 2017.