Turkey’s tourism sector fears continued losses amid Russia crisis
DHA photoThe number of foreign visitors to Turkey fell 4.02 percent year-on-year in October to 3.3 million people amid escalating security concerns and a decline in the number of Russian tourists.
Overall in the first 10 months of 2015, the number of foreign visitors dropped 1.4 percent year-on-year to 33.05 million, data from the Turkish Tourism Ministry showed on Nov. 27.
The sector may see further decline in foreign arrivals if the current crisis with Russia escalates, according to sector representatives.
The head of Russia’s tourism agency, Rostourism, said on Nov. 26 cooperation between Russia and Turkey in the sector would “obviously” be halted after a Russian warplane was downed by Turkey on Nov. 24, the Interfax news agency reported.
“We cannot lose the Russian market, which is the second largest source of Turkey’s tourism sector. We have already lost over 800,000 Russian tourists over this year due to economic woes in [Russia], and had to make significant cuts in hotel prices to overcome our losses in addition to other concessions. Despite this, we still cannot close the gap,” said the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED), Osman Ayık, as quoted by daily Hürriyet on Nov. 25.
According to the ministry data, the largest number of foreigners came to Turkey from Germany in October with a 22.12 percent share, followed by Britain with 7.75 percent and the Russian Federation with 6.94 percent.
In the first ten months of the year, the largest number of foreigners visited Turkey from Germany with a 15.56 percent share, followed by the Russian Federation with 10.70 percent and Britain with 7.33 percent.
Turkey saw a decrease of around 19 percent in the number of Russian tourists in the first ten months of the year to 3.54 million compared to the same period of 2014 mainly due to a steep decrease in Russia’s purchasing power amid the sanctions imposed on the country.
According to STR Global data, which was revealed by the Turkish Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB) on Nov. 27, the hotel occupancy rates in Turkey also decreased by 6.4 percent in October to 60.5 percent compared to the same month of 2014. Overall, the occupancy rate increased by 0.5 percent to 63.5 percent in the first ten months of the year compared to the same period of the previous year, according to the STR Global data.
Turkey’s tourism revenues declined 4.4 percent, reaching only $12.29 billion in the third quarter, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) said on Oct. 30, amid security concerns and a decrease in the number of Russian tourists visiting the country.