Due to events worldwide in 2016 tourism in Turkey took a hit with a significant drop in visitors, tourists and holidaymakers. Yes, the faithful still arrived in their thousands particularly holidaymakers who know Turkey well and holiday home owners who visit several times a year. In recent months however reports from the giants of air travel have made press announcements to the fact that they are increasing their flight timetable adding new routes across Turkey and increasing their seats.
This is great news for Turkish tourism and we are now seeing Turkey making a concentrated effort to forge good relationships with the cruise liners to once again increase their visits to popular Turkish ports.
It has been reported that Turkey will offer subsidies to A-group tourism operators of cruise ships bringing foreign tourists into the country in a bid to boost visitor numbers. A sum of $30 will be provided per tourist for cruise ships with the capacity of 750 passengers or more until 31st December, according to a cabinet decision released on the Official Gazette on 26th September.
Tour operators are being asked to present documents which show they carry tourists via cruise ships to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, according to the decision. Turkey’s cruise tourism was hit severely due to escalating security concerns in 2016. Many leading cruise companies announced that they would leave Turkey out of their 2017 travel plans.
While more than 1.8 million cruise tourists visited or transited through Turkish ports by 1,456 ships in 2015, the number of passengers declined to 628,000, who were carried by 590 ships, in 2016, according to data from the General Directorate of Maritime Trade.
There were 213,216 tourists who visited Turkish ports in 2017 by 224 cruise ships. While the total number of travellers has hit 1.6 billion across the world, only 24 million of them travel by cruise ship, but the development rate in the cruising sector in the last five years was four times higher than any other sector, according to sector reports.
Cruise ships have regularly been stopping at the major tourist ports of Turkey for a number of years now on a weekly basis and bring much revenue to these cities. The most popular cities visited are Istanbul on the Marmara coast, Kusadasi, Marmaris, Bodrum and Izmir located on the Aegean coast and Antalya on the Mediterranean. Over the years it has been estimated that over 3 million cruise ship passengers have visited the country so far.
Its no wonder Turkey is very keen to increase these numbers once again and with renewed confidence that 2018 will be a very good year for tourism in Turkey we are likely to see the passenger ships returning in their droves. Whilst Turkeys cruise ship passengers are likely to increase for 2018 it seems that Barcelona is now the city to avoid with its riots and demonstrations taking place at the moment and the cruise ships are currently being diverted to other cities such as Valencia.