Turkey’s struggling tourism sector suffers oversupply in hotel rooms
Burak Coşan - ISTANBUL
DHA photoWith the recent decrease in tourist numbers visiting Turkey, many hotels are facing an oversupply of rooms this season after years of rapid expansion, according to sector representatives.
Turkey’s tourism sector has this year suffered a sharp drop in visitor numbers amid Russia’s economic woes and escalating security concerns. The drop comes after an expansion of new hotels in recent years, causing the sector to now face an oversupply in rooms, which is pushing many hotels to slash room prices.
“There is an oversupply in hotels in Turkey. Some 35,000 new beds are added annually in [the Mediterranean resort town] Antalya, which already had a 600,000-bed capacity. Around 1 million tourists are needed in order to make use of these newly added beds this year. The current trend is not sustainable as the sector does not need such a high number of new rooms and beds,” said Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort General Manager Zafer Alkaya.
Alkaya noted that many hotels in Antalya were forced to cut room prices this season.
“Hotels in Istanbul do not need to do this, but cuts in room prices are very common in Antalya. Many Antalya hotels have also cut their costs, even by firing some of their staff members. Such moves cause a decrease in the service quality, which will lead to further drops in tourist numbers,” he said.
Turkey has seen the steepest decrease in hotel occupancy rates in Europe, excluding Russia, according to STR Global’s June figures.
Hotel occupancy rates were announced at 68.6 percent in June, a 7.6 percent drop from the same month of 2014.
The highest hotel occupancy rates were seen in Malta at 90.5 percent, followed by the Czech Republic at 83.9 percent, Britain at 83.5 percent and Lithuania at 82.4 percent, according to the STR Global data.
Alkaya said Turkey’s tourism sector now needs comprehensive publicity campaigns, especially in Europe, to recover its image problems.
He also noted that the country was lagging behind in income earned per tourist, despite Turkey being the sixth most visited country in the world.
“One of the main problems is the rise in all-inclusive hotels, especially in Antalya. Tourists who choose such hotels spend most of their time within the hotel area but do not go outside. This has led to lower quality in services and a lower perception abroad of tourism in Turkey,” Alkaya said.