Turkey continues to see drop in foreign visitors

Turkey continues to see drop in foreign visitors

Turkey continues to see drop in foreign visitors

DHA photo

The number of foreign arrivals to Turkey continued to drop in September, according to data released by the Tourism Ministry on Oct. 27.

The number of foreigners arriving in Turkey in September 2015 was 4.25 million, down 2.31 percent from the same month of previous year, according to the ministry’s data. 

The data showed the declining trend in the number of Russian tourists was still the case in September. 

While Russian tourists made up almost 14.65 percent of Turkey’s visitors last September, this figure dropped to 12.44 percent of total visitors in the same month of 2015. 

Some 529,000 Russian people visited Turkey this September, according to the fresh data. 

The share of German visitors in total increased from 14.84 percent in September 2014 to 15.62 percent this September, although the number of German visitors showed a slight decrease compared to last year. 

A total of 664,300 Germans visited the country in September this year, according to the ministry. 

But visitors from Europe, who constitute over half of overall visitors annually, slipped 5.9 percent in September to 2.22 million from 2.36 million a year earlier.

Some 36.11 percent of all visitors went through the Mediterranean resort of Antalya in September, followed by Istanbul with 28.37 percent and the Aegean province of Muğla with 11.11 percent. 

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey showed a 1.1 percent decline in the first nine months of the year to 29.8 million compared to the same period of 2014. 

Some 32.36 percent of the arrivals were made through Istanbul in the first nine months of the year, followed by Antalya with 31.84 percent and Muğla with 8.89 percent, according to the ministry’s data. 

Expected losses in income

The country’s tourism sector has been hit by the continuing decline in the number of Russian tourists due to economic problems in Russia as well as a rise in security concerns, according to sector players. 

Despite a slight decrease in the total tourist figures over the year, a sharp decline is expected for the year-end tourism income as many hotels have made cuts of up to 50 percent in their room prices to compensate the drop in the number of tourists, mainly from Russia. 

Turkey’s tourism industry may close this year with around $10-11 billion in losses amid a dramatic loss in Russian tourists and a sharp slash in hotel room prices across the country, according to leading sector representatives. 

“Turkey’s tourism sector grew in double digit figures in the last 25 years. The sector has, however, faced tough times with the rise in Russia’s economic problems, security concerns especially after the Arab Spring in the region and the Syria crisis,” said the head of the Hoteliers’ Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), Osman Ayık, as quoted by Doğan News Agency. 

The country saw a decrease of around 25 percent in the number of tourists from Russia and its neighbors, although a 9 percent increase was seen in the number of German and European tourists, he noted. 

“The rise in the number of European tourists cannot, however, enable the sector to compensate its losses from the Russian market. In this vein, we expect a loss in income. The losses will differ across the regions, but we most probably won’t close the year with positive growth,” he noted.