Turkey upbeat on tourism growth for 2023
Turkish officials and industry insiders are optimistic about the country’s tourism growth in 2023, as they believe a robust rebound in tourism this year and a weak currency will add momentum to the sector’s growth.
In an address to Parliament earlier this month, Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said the country aims to attract 60 million foreign visitors next year and expects the sector to bring in $56 billion in revenue, reports Xinhua news agency.
“We are revising our year-end target for 2022 to 51.5 million visitors and $46 billion in revenue,” he said.
The figures were slightly up from an official target set in October, when officials estimate that the country would have welcomed 50 million foreign tourists and generated 44 billion dollars in tourism revenue by the year-end.
According to official data released in late October, the number of foreign visitors climbed 88.1 per cent year-on-year to reach 39.61 million in the first 10 months of this year, almost matching the pre-pandemic level of 2019, when 45 million foreign tourists travelled to Turkey.
“The year of 2022 is especially a good one for the (Turkish) tourism industry. Occupancy rates were over 90 percent in most resorts,” said Kaan Sahinalp, German tourism giant TUI’s representative in Turkey.
“This year is uplifting in terms of tourism revenues for the years ahead. If Turkey continues on its road of sustainability, the future looks bright,” he said in a recent interview.
Moreover, Turkey’s weakened currency will also make the country’s tourism sector more competitive, analysts say.
The Turkish currency lira lost about 70 per cent of its value against the greenback since last year. One US dollar now is equivalent to 18.69 liras, compared to around 8 liras in September 2021.
Despite the tourism sector in countries such as Turkey has witnessed a strong recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has warned in a report in early December that the post-pandemic rebound in tourism is at risk of slowdown as the global economy loses momentum by the energy shock triggered by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, high inflation, and weakened household purchasing power.
Global tourism is not expected to recover until 2024 or 2025, or even later, the report added.
Turkey should continue to diversify its tourism industry in order to attract more tourists who are interested in cultural and historical excursions, said Sahinalp.
According to Zafer Alkaya, a hotel manager in the Antalya region along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, the country’s tourism industry has a significant advantage over its competitors due to its high-quality service.
“It is time to turn the advantage into a tourism success in 2023,” he said.