Muğla bids to boost tourist numbers with new markets
MUĞLA - Anadolu Agency
After a recent slowdown in tourists from traditional markets, the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla expects to welcome guests from the new markets such as India, Iran and Kazakhstan, with tourism managers saying there is a boom in early reservations in the city.
With 1,484 kilometers of coastline, Muğla’s touristic facilities have a capacity of 260,000 beds and are now preparing for the new season hoping for more tourists.
Last year Muğla hosted 2.09 million foreign tourists, a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year when the tourism sector in Turkey suffered a considerable blow.
Bodrum Hoteliers Association (BODER) Secretary General Orhan Kavala said they had received great interest at international fairs and they also expected an increase in the number of British tourists this year.
“In line with the demand in international fairs, there is an important increase in the number of British tourists, followed by Germany. There is also a good increase in early reservations from foreigners,” Kavala said.
“We will have a good season if there is no extraordinary change. Fairs are very important to promote the region. Social media, investments and events in the fairs are very important to change the views of agents about the country. This year it is clearly seen that agents will bring more tourists to Bodrum,” he added.
Focusing on Indian market
Dalaman, Ortaca, Köyceğiz Touristic Hoteliers and Enterprises Union (DOKTOB) Chairman Yücel Okutur said Turkey has the world’s most magnificent opportunities in terms of variety in tourism.
“The number of reservations are very good compared to last year. But we don’t know how long it will continue. As we did in previous years, we do not want to lose guests to Greece and Italy this year. These countries cannot provide the hotels and services that we already give. That is why tourists prefer us,” Okutur said.
As the result of year-long talks with India, the world’s biggest agent TAFI has come to Muğla to organize its congress, he added, noting that wedding, film and tourism organizations will also be held in the region this year.
“Along with British tourists, we will also see Indian tourists this year. The Indian market will be one of the new destinations for Muğla in 2018. Turkey is the world’s most important tourism destination center. We give the best tourism service. That is why we are always preferred,” Okutur added.
DOKTOB took part in a fair in New Delhi in February and held talks with some of the biggest tourism agents of India, with 1,750 of them promoting Muğla on their websites.
The biggest potential hurdle in the Indian market is the current limited number of flights.
“If this is overcome, many Indian tourists will come to Turkey,” Okutur said.
He also noted that his association will be going to Kazakhstan in April to woo tourists from there.
Number of flights up by 50 percent
Southern Aegean Hoteliers and Entrepreneurs Union (GETOB) Chairman Bülent Bülbüloğlu said the health of Muğla’s tourism was equivalent to the health of Turkish tourism, and considering early reservation numbers the signs are positive for 2018.
“There is a serious increase, especially in the British market. All tour operators have increased the number of their flights. Because no country in the world gives such high-quality hotel service at such a reasonable price. Tourists know it too. Now we have to bring higher-quality tourists who spend more money to the region,” Bülbüloğlu added.
In line with this, they have started a promotional launch to woo back the lost German, Dutch and Belgian markets.