Depreciation of lira drives hoteliers to shift focus to foreign tourists
Sefer Levent – ISTANBUL
The fluctuation in the value of the Turkish Lira has driven tourism companies and hoteliers to shift their focus from domestic visitors to foreign visitors.
Millions of Turkish residents made domestic vacations in 2018, but the around 20 percent increase in inflation and 40 percent devaluation in the Turkish currency have altered the dynamics.
If domestic visitors want to have their vacations in Turkish resort spots, they need to pay at least two or three-fold higher prices compared to 2018’s.
But given the 40 percent devaluation in the lira, alongside an increase of 40 percent in hotel room prices seen as “normal,” how is it possible for us to explain the outrageous two or three-fold hike in vacation expenses?
Even early bookings do not provide budget-friendly holiday programs for Turkish citizens.
“Last year, my spouse, our two daughters and I went on vacation to [southern province of] Antalya’s Belek district for seven nights and eight days and paid 5,500 Turkish Liras in February last year. This year the price asked for the same vacation was 16,500 Turkish Liras, a Hürriyet reader wrote.
“My wife and I took a vacation in a five-star hotel last year at the beginning of July. The price we had paid for six nights and seven days was 6,000 Turkish Liras. We have looked at the vacation prices for the same hotel for the same data. We wanted to utilize the early booking campaign. And I have done a quick research on the internet and looked up the [tourism] agency from which we had bought last year’s vacation package. I have seen that if I want to book the same hotel [for the same date], I would have to pay 11,500 Turkish Liras,” another Hürriyet reader wrote.
Officials of the tourism industry suggest domestic tourists to take culture trips, give up on all-inclusive holiday packages and four-star hotels or prefer Aegean resort cities rather than Mediterranean ones, for which foreign demand is high.
Furthermore, taking a vacation abroad to neighboring countries is still an option for Turks even though it is not as advantageous as recent years due to the devaluation in the currency.
Turkey reached a record number in 2018 in foreign tourist numbers. This is expected to continue this year as well.
Turkey aims to attract 50 million foreign tourists this year. In 2018, around 40 million foreigners enjoyed their vacations in the country.
Such an increase in foreign tourist numbers is also confirmed by tourism fairs held by Turkish companies overseas as they say there is a positive outlook for 2019.
An increasing number of tourists is expected to contribute to the government’s budget by decreasing the current account deficit, which is regarded as a major economic problem Turkey has been dealing with for many years.