One million domestic tourists wait for 9-day holiday
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
DHA photoHotel and tour reservations have reached 90 percent of occupancy in Turkey for the 9-day long holiday during the Feast of the Sacrifice, a senior tourism representative has said.
“Around 1 million people will go on holiday in Turkey, and around 250,000 people will go abroad for holidays,” said the head of the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies (TURSAB), Başaran Ulusoy.
The Turkish Cabinet has extended the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday running between Oct. 15 and 18 to nine days by declaring one more day off on Oct. 14 for public workers, allowing them to include the bookending weekends as part of their holiday.
The most preferred domestic tourism spot is the Mediterranean city of Antalya. Visa-free countries are the most popular foreign spots as well as Italy, Spain, France, the Balkans, Africa and Dubai.
“Cruise trips are also very popular this time,” Ulusoy noted.
Almost all cruise tours were already sold, Jolly Tour General Manager Figen Erkan said.
“We have seen a 50 percent increase in the demand for our tour packages compared to the same period of the previous year. Around 85 percent of our packages were sold out. We expect all of them will be sold in a couple of days,” Erkan said.
Around 75 percent of the domestic travelers prefer Antalya. And the city is followed by other sun-and-sea spots, including the the Aegean provinces of Bodrum and Marmaris.
“Culture tours are also very popular this year,” said an operation director from ETS Tour, Suat Özbek.
“The culture tours to Southeastern Anatolia, Cappadocia and the Black Sea are the most preferred by our customers,” Özbek said.
Dramatic rise in number of travel agencies
The diversity of new products offered by Turkish travel agencies has been stimulated by the tourist demand, and the number of Turkish tourists going abroad has increased. While there were around 350 travel agencies operating in Turkey in 1980, this number jumped to around 6,000 in 2012.
During the Eid ul-Fitr, 100 percent of occupancy rate was seen in hotels this year, relieving the sector representatives after a decrease in the demand due to the anti-government protests and the harsh police reaction across the country. Around 2.5 million domestic tourists traveled across the country during the Eid ul-Fitr holiday.
Trip expenditures of domestic tourists reached 2.4 billion Turkish Liras ($1.2 billion) in the first quarter of this year, marking a 9.8 percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year, according to figures revealed by the state-run statistics body TÜİK on Aug. 2.
The number of domestic trips of one night or more reached 11.9 million in the same period, with an 8.3 percent increase.
Domestic visitors made 84.3 million overnight stays in the first quarter. While the average number of overnight stays was seven, the average expenditure per trip was 206 liras.
Domestic tourism expenditures were composed of individual expenditures and package tour expenditures. While 96.9 percent of domestic tourism expenditure was individual (2.3 billion liras), 3.1 percent of it was on package tours (75.5 million liras).
The second most cited purpose of trips was “health” with 12 percent, while the third was travel, leisure, and holidays with 7.7 percent.