Italy tops list of Turkish tourists' preferences
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish holiday-goers' favorite destination is Italy.Turks eager for a trip abroad that planned their holiday months ago in order to take advantage of early-bird deals are continuing to tread a well-worn path to Italy and Central Europe, just like in previous years, according to travel agencies.
The marketing director of a tour company, Sarp Özkar, said that as part of the early-reservation campaign that the Culture and Tourism Ministry caries out with travel agencies, local holiday-goers could take advantage of discounts ranging between 35 and 40 percent.
The early reservation campaign began in January with the slogan “A holiday is everyone’s right” and will continue until the end of April. Özkar said sales of overseas tours accelerated in the middle of January thanks to the campaign and that they expected that it would continue nonstop until the middle of May.
When compared to previous years, Balkan countries received the biggest demand, he said. “Tour agencies began early-reservation demands in December, but the campaign that we are carrying out with the Culture and Tourism Ministry had not started yet then. We were trying to make sales without seeking profit at that time. Citizens who did not want to miss an opportunity for an advantageous holiday began showing interest in early reservations in those days.”
Özkar said that as living standards increased in Turkey, people who want to go abroad could do so while paying cheaper prices. “Just like in previous years, Turkish holiday-goers prefer to go to Italy in the first place. Central Europe follows Italy. The Balkan countries, which were not in demand in previous years, began to receive interest in recent years. The Balkan countries rank third on the list of the most preferred countries in the early-reservation campaign.”
Price, not season, determines preferences
Özkar said Turkish holiday-goers chose their destinations on the basis of price rather than the season.
“For example, Far Eastern countries rank fifth among the most chosen countries. But these countries are rainy during the early-reservation period. Holiday-goers know this fact but ignore it. Foreign tourists who come to Turkey mostly prefer the summer months. The early-reservation campaign is the most influential factor making the Far East that popular.”
The majority of people were interested in cruises last year, he said, but added that cruises were being replaced by new alternatives this year for a host of reasons.
Özkar also said they had begun selling a tour package called the “Romantic Road” for Germany on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.
“As for 2013, we expect Germany will replace the Far East in fifth place. Our travel agency aims to take 90,000 tourists abroad this year. This figure is increasing with the economic development of Turkey every other year,” he said.