Turkey loses British tourists in addition to Russians
Burak Coşan - DALAMAN
DHA photoThe number of British tourists visiting Turkey has been decreasing amid security and political concerns, according to sector representatives, compounding the issue of the country losing around 30 percent of its Russian tourists, mainly due to economic problems in Russia.
“We have seen a decrease of around 5 percent in the number of British tourists. Around 1 million of the 1.7 million tourists visiting this site are British tourists, but we are losing them,” said Hilton Resort Hotel CEO Hakan Alpay, in the Aegean resort of Dalaman.
The number of foreign visitors to Turkey fell in the first half of the year while the outlook for the rest of 2015 looked gloomy, as heightened security risks have weighed down tourists’ appetite for visiting the country.
Foreign arrivals fell 2.25 percent to 14.89 million people in the first six months, data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry showed on July 29. Turkey’s tourism income decreased by 13.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, down $7.73 billion compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
With escalating violence within and around the country and rising economic problems in Russia, Turkey’s tourism players have warned of worse numbers in 2016.
“While the hotel occupancy rates decreased by 10 percent in some touristic centers, these facilities lost 30 percent in income compared to the last year. Many touristic facilities experience financial losses due to the decrease in the tourist numbers as well as continuing unplanned hotel investments. We’ll see the same, even worse problems next year as well,” said Alpay, claiming around 30 big hotels in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya changed hands this year due to negativities in the sector.
Further decrease may be seen
The number of tourists visiting Antalya decreased by 500,000 in the first half of the year from the same period of 2014.
“We saw a decrease of around 15 percent in Dalaman. We lost around 5 percent in the number of British tourists,” Alpay said, adding around 1 million of the site’s 1.7 million foreign visitors come from Britain.
“We cannot endure further decreases in the number of British tourists,” he said, adding the number of tourists from the Netherlands decreased by 3 percent, from Belgium by 20 percent, from Denmark by 22 percent, from Sweden by 15 percent, from Ireland by 10 percent and from Norway by 13 percent this year compared to the previous year.
Alpay noted the importance of perception management in tourism.
“We have seen sharp decreases in the number of future reservations for the last month. We need to tell foreign people how our country is safe,” he said, calling on the Culture and Tourism Ministry to take action.
Unless such measures are taken, Turkey will lose a greater number of foreign tourists, mainly British tourists, he added.