‘Safe tourism’ lures foreign visitors to Antalya

‘Safe tourism’ lures foreign visitors to Antalya

‘Safe tourism’ lures foreign visitors to Antalya

Some 7 million holidaymakers visited Antalya, one of Turkey’s hottest tourism spots, in the first nine months of the year thanks to the “safe tourism certificate” scheme and widespread inoculation among staff working in the industry.

In 2019, Antalya lured nearly 16 million foreign tourists, including some 6 million Russians and 2.7 million Germans.

However, last year, when the pandemic hit global travel and tourism activity, the city hosted 3.4 million visitors.

Things, however, improved this year with the number of tourist arrivals in Antalya leaping 173 percent in January-September from a year earlier, reaching 7 million people. In the first nine months of the year, 2.7 million Russians, 1.1 million Ukrainians and 880,000 Germans vacationed in the city.

“The safe tourism certificate scheme and vaccination among the staff boosted our reputation. Data suggest that we may host up to 9 million visitors this year,” said Erkan Yağcı, the chair of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Investors’ Association (AKTOB).

The pandemic was managed in such a successful way that, even during the period when no hotels were expected to open because of COVID-19, Antalya attracted 3.5 million tourists, thanks to the measures taken at the venues and the safe tourism scheme, Yağcı noted.

“Spain’s Balearic Islands, seen as Antalya’s main competitor, lured only 3.9 million tourists this year. What we are experiencing in Antalya is V-shaped revival in the tourism activity.”

Pre-booking for Antalya holidays for 2022 is already strong, and in the absence of unfavorable surprises, the province next year may see foreign tourist arrivals climb back the 2019 level, according to Yağcı.