Turkey’s ports welcome 54 cruise ships in January-April
In the same period of last year, no cruise ships docked at the country’s ports because of the COVID-19-related restrictions, whereas only five cruise ships visited Turkey with around 2,000 travelers on board.
In the first four months of 2022, the Kuşadası district in the province of Aydın, on the Aegean Coast, was the busiest in terms of cruise traffic.
According to the data from the ministry, 32 cruise ships visited the famous resort town with 21,000 passengers. Istanbul ranked second with 13 ships and 10,600 visitors.
April saw the biggest number of ship visits. In the month, 45 cruise ships docked at the country’s ports, whereas only one ship arrived in the country. In January and March, four cruise ships visited Turkey.
In 2019, 344 cruise ships visited Turkey with nearly 301,000 travelers on board, but only five arrived in the county each in 2020 and 2021.
People from the industry are optimistic that Turkey’s cruise tourism may benefit from the ongoing war in Ukraine, the province of Sinop on the Black Sea coast, in particular.
“During the Crimea conflict in 2014, some 30 ships visited Sinop in one year. And this time around, we are expecting a number of cruise ships to divert their routes to Sinop because of the Russia-Ukraine war,” said Metin Sümen from the provincial directorate of culture and tourism.
In terms of cruise traffic, the advantages of the war appear to outweigh its disadvantages, Sümen said.
He added that cruise companies made reservations for the Sinop Port last year but had to cancel them because travel bans were not yet relaxed.
“We have seen strong demand this year. It is not possible to give certain numbers. Due to the ongoing war, some cruise companies canceled reservations while others redirected their route to Sinop. Yet, apparently, we will welcome a significant number of cruise ships this summer.”