Number of foreigners visiting Turkey declines by 2.88 pct in August
ANKARA / ISTANBUL
AA photoThe number of foreigners visiting Turkey decreased by 2.88 percent in August to 5.13 million compared to the same period of 2014, according to Tourism Ministry data compiled by Reuters, as tourism sector players warned of further losses.
The number of foreigners visiting the country was announced as 25.51 million in the first eight months of the year, a 0.89 percent decrease compared to the same period of the previous year.
The general decreasing trend in foreign tourist figures is mainly due to economic problems in Russia, as well as escalating security concerns in Turkey, according to sector players.
After consecutive decreases in April, May and May, the number of foreign visitors increased by 5 percent in July from the same month of 2014.
It is quite difficult for sector players to set targets as conditions may change in dramatic ways in the country, said the head of Turkey’s Hotels Association (TUROB), Timur Bayındır, in a written statement.
“Our target was to reach 10 percent of a rise in hotel occupancy rates for this year. Our revenue targets were composed in line with these estimates. We have, however, seen 11 percent decreases in occupancy rates and 16 percent in revenues this year so far. We expect the recent problems will negatively affect our results in the fourth quarter. It is quite difficult to make any estimate, but the recent cancelations in reservations signal that the last four months of the year will be very low compared to the results of the same period of 2014,” he noted on Sept. 29.
“If the current environment had improved today, the business would have normalized in last six months. If the same environment continues or becomes worse, the 2016 figures will be worse than the 2015 figures,” he warned.
According to ministry data, the number of Russians visiting Turkey decreased by 20.72 percent in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period of 2014. The number of French people visiting the country also dropped by 17.39 percent, Italians by 23.9 percent and Japanese by 33.59 percent over the same period.
Turkey’s tourism income decreased by 13.8 percent to $7.73 billion in the second quarter compared to the same period of the previous year. Turkey financed around 53 percent of its current account deficit last year through net tourism income.