By. Justin Mays
There are encouraging trends and positive news for the Turkish tourism sector in the first quarter of 2021. Despite the pandemic Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines pulled well ahead of the competition, CEO Ilker Ayci said on March 8. The carrier saw the smallest reduction in passenger numbers among other airlines at 62% with a seat occupancy rate of 71%. "Compared to our rivals that announced results for 2020, Turkish Airlines posted the smallest annual revenue drop with 49%," Ayci said. Additionally, the airline ranked number one in Europe with an average of 581 daily flights from Feb. 1 to March 6, according to the European Organization for Air Navigation Safety (Euro control). According to their data, Istanbul Airport is the top airport in Europe with an average of 190 daily departures, while Istanbul’s smaller Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, ranked second with 55 daily flights.
Turkey’s tourism sector hopes to bring in 25 million foreign visitors this year. Dependent on corona virus vaccines schedules at home and abroad, outlook is optimistic, after a decline in tourist numbers caused by the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the number of foreign visitors to Turkey in 2019 numbered 45.06 million with tourism revenues standing at $34.5 billion. Turkey is considering relaxation of Covid-19 related rules for the high season, with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s highly successful Safe Tourism Certification Program’s measures leading the way for safe and healthy travels. Tourism revenues account for up to 12% of the Turkish economy.
After April 15, Turkey will re-evaluate whether visitors will need to provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Expect more announcements about tourism to roll out in the next couple of months. Minister Mehmet Ersoy stated, "We have world-class border processes in place for ensuring travel will be low-risk throughout Turkey.” He said employees at hotels and other tourist facilities in Turkey will be prioritized for Covid19 vaccines before the summer season and Turkish is offering a £12 travel Covid-19 related insurance package in case one falls ill while traveling including medication and emergency care.
Known for its natural beauty and cultural sites, Turkey easily rivals any country as a year-round destination. Given its growing numbers of tourists, this is an excellent time to buy investment properties in Turkey. With its healthy rental market, holiday homes in Turkey bring good returns especially in markets like Fethiye, Kalkan and Kas.