Early bookings in Turkey increase sharply
Early bookings for the summer season have increased by a strong 25 percent compared to the previous year, indicating that tourism activity will be stronger in 2019, a tourism association has said.
“Some 2.5 million people have booked holidays under the ‘early reservation’ scheme to date,” Cem Polatoğlu, the spokesman for the Tour Operators’ Platform, told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“The tourism industry’s performance this year will be much stronger than it was in 2018. We expect a significant increase in the number of visitors from Europe,” he added.
Early reservations rose thanks to the 50 percent discount and payments in up to 9 installments the companies offered, Polatoğlu explained.
Polatoğlu noted that there has been a strong interest from Russia.
“As far as Europe is concerned, we have seen robust demand particularly from Germany. Most importantly, British citizens have started to book for [the popular resort town of] Bodrum after three years,” he said.
“In order to meet 50 million tourist target set for 2019, Turkey needs to focus on culture and gastronomy tourism. We are working to promote [the ancient sites of] Çatalhöyük and Göbeklitepe. Both the Tourism Ministry and the private companies are doing their best to attract more tourists ,” he said.
According to the latest data from the ministry, the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey soared 22.3 percent on an annual basis to reach 37.5 million people in the first eleven months of 2018.
In the whole of 2017, 30.7 million foreign tourists visited Turkey.
The government this year targets $34 billion in tourism revenues.