Turkey to cover losses in Russian market with Europe in football tourism: Official

Turkey to cover losses in Russian market with Europe in football tourism: Official

Ceyhun Kuburlu - ISTANBUL
Turkey to cover losses in Russian market with Europe in football tourism: Official

DHA photo

Turkey is trying to lure more European football clubs this year, though it has lost around 50 million euros in football tourism income amid the diplomatic crisis with Russia, said a senior sector representative. The Mediterranean resort of Antalya alone is expected to host around 1,500 football clubs in 2016 for more than 55 million euros of tourism income. 

Many Russian football clubs canceled camp reservations in Antalya after the diplomatic crisis erupted between Russia and Turkey in November 2015. Fortunately, almost half of Germany’s Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 leagues made reservations in Antalya, according to sector representatives. 

“A number of leading football clubs of Bundesliga, such as Stuttgart, Hamburg and Werder Bremen, will come to Antalya this year. The city will also host some clubs from the Netherlands and Austria. We have lost Russian clubs, but managed to lure Europeans. Although our revenue has been decreasing, the latest developments have been good for us,” said the head of the Sports Tourism Association, Ferit Turgut, to a group of journalists. 

1,500 European clubs

Antalya will host around 1,500 European clubs in 2016, he said, adding that Turkey’s football tourism income is expected to be around 50 million euros this year, almost half of the previous year’s figure. Although business slows down during winter months, the tourism sector generates around 100 million euros from football clubs’ camps. 

European football clubs will stay in Antalya between seven days and 10 days to hold preparation matches.
“We’ll host football clubs from around 70 countries this year, mainly from Europe… We hope to host Russian clubs again in the future as soon as the current crisis is over,” he noted. 

Around 900 football clubs have canceled their reservations for this year, he added. 

Turgut noted that some seven clubs from Bundesliga and 11 clubs from Bundesliga 2 are in Antalya now. 
“The remaining 18 German clubs are camping in seven different countries. Our biggest rivals in football tourism are Spain and Dubai,” he said. 

He noted that many Turkish football clubs also prefer Antalya for camping, but they stay a shorter period of time. 

There are a total of 140 football fields in Antalya and 23 hotels which have football pitches, according to sector data.