The Turkish tourism sector, which experienced a thriving summer season with a notable influx of foreign visitors, particularly to its Mediterranean resorts and Istanbul, is anticipating an extended tourism season, according to industry officials.
Mehmet Işler, Vice President of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) and Chairman of the Aegean Touristic Enterprises and Accommodations Association (ETIK), expressed optimism about the sector's performance. He noted that August met expectations, and they anticipate the tourism season to extend into the fall.
The Turkish government has ambitious targets for tourism, aiming to attract 60 million tourists in 2023 and projecting 90 million arrivals by 2028. July witnessed a significant surge in foreign arrivals in Istanbul, reaching the highest monthly level in a decade, with approximately 1.87 million tourists visiting. Overall, the country hosted around 7.15 million foreign visitors in July, a 7.25% year-over-year increase.
Işler acknowledged the initial impact of earthquakes in February on the start of the tourism season, which led to a slowdown in reservations. However, he emphasized that the sector picked up, especially in August and September, and anticipates an extended season with favorable weather conditions.
While Germany and Russia continue to be significant source markets, Işler highlighted emerging interest from markets such as China and Latin America. Russia experienced a surge in tourist numbers in July and August, and Germany remains a leading market. The UK is also expected to contribute significantly, with 3.5 million tourists anticipated by the year-end.
Işler pointed out the signs of an extended tourism season with increased reservations for September and October, and he expressed optimism about arrivals from France and China. The recent decision by Beijing to lift the ban on outbound group tours to Turkey and other countries further opens opportunities in the Chinese market, which is more culture and gastronomy-oriented, diversifying Turkish tourism offerings.
Overall, the Turkish tourism sector is looking ahead with optimism, fueled by a diverse range of source markets and promising reservation trends, suggesting an extended and robust tourism season.