Turkey has long been a popular tourist destination for people in Europe, the Middle East, and further afield. The sun, beaches, culture, and affordable prices of the country are all major attractions. Turkey reached its tourism peak in 2014 when it attracted a total of 36 million visitors, however, this sharply fell over the next couple of years to 24 million in 2016.
Turkey has rebounded fast from this dip in tourism, so can it completely recover and even surpass its 2014 statistics?
A rebound in tourism
It’s clear to see that Turkey is back on the rise in terms of tourism. After dropping to 24 million tourists in 2016, these figures are already expected to reach 32 million by the end of 2018. That’s a big turn around in just two years. Istanbul continues to lead tourism in the country with a total share of 55.56% of foreign visitors.
The dip in tourism could be attributed to a number of global and political issues as well as safety concerns for people visiting the country. But, with improved global relations between Turkey and Russia, many of the factors deterring tourists from visiting Turkey have vastly improved. Investments have also been made into the country’s major cities, such as Istanbul and Izmir, to develop them with tourism in mind.
Visits from Russia, Germany, and the UK have already risen during this recovery, which has greatly helped to increase numbers. Turkey is currently focused on the far east markets such as China and Malaysia, hoping to attract a higher number of tourists from this area. In turn, there has been a rise in the number of Turkish visitors to China this year in an attempt to improve relations between the two countries and encourage tourism to flow in both directions.
Additionally, the Turkish government has offered incentives to Indian filmmakers shooting on location in Turkey to try to tap into Bollywood’s fame and attract more Indian tourists. All in all, the steps Turkey have made toward recovery in the last two years are impressive, but the country continues to press on to makes themselves one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
What makes Turkey such a great place to visit?
The majority of tourists coming to Turkey are pulled there by the climate, the sandy beaches, warm seas, and the range of affordable hotels and resorts from which to enjoy all of this. Low prices in general, at local Turkish markets for example, also make this prospect more attractive.
The country benefits greatly from the tourism income generated by this sector, but it is worth mentioning that the country has so much more to offer than sun, sea, and sand. First of all, there is so much culture and history to experience across the country, and not just in the major cities like Istanbul. Sights like Ephesus and Hagia Sophia are unmissable, along with the impressive natural landscapes. The Go Turkey Tourism website wonderfully describes the country as “modern enough to be comfortable yet traditional enough to be interesting.”
Despite its affordability, Turkey is also a great location for luxury hotels, so it should be a big draw for those looking for extravagant breaks as well as budget ones. The local cuisine is another good reason to visit Turkey, with lots of delicacies to enjoy no matter where you go.
So, tourism boards are trying to boost a variety of different types of tourism, such as those who visit the country on cruises, for a cultural visit, for local conventions, and other niches such as golf and health tourism. They are also making efforts to boost tourism outside of the summer season so that the industry becomes more stable throughout the year rather than relying on this one period.
The impact on Turkey’s economy
A rise in tourism means big benefits for business and industry in Turkey. Hotels, airlines, car rental companies, bars and restaurants, and many more types of businesses will gain increased custom, especially during the peak seasons. Employment levels and the country’s overall economy will greatly benefit from this rise in tourism and its knock-on effects.
In 2014, national income from tourism amounted to 37.4 billion USD and had dropped to 22.1 billion by 2016. This represents a significant blow to the country’s economy, so it is clear to see that tourism is an important part of Turkey’s economy. If the country’s goal of surpassing their peak figures of 2014 can be achieved, then this will be extremely significant for the country’s development.
Only time will tell what Turkey’s tourism industry will look like in the future, but they certainly seem to be making all of the right steps in a positive direction.