Turkey’s tourism sector faces declining numbers

Turkey’s tourism sector faces declining numbers

Burak Coşan - ISTANBUL
Turkey’s tourism sector faces declining numbers

DHA Photo

Turkey’s tourism sector is going through a difficult season due to declining Russian and European tourist numbers as well as continuing cold weather conditions, tourism representatives have said, while complaining about weak support from government officials. 

Hotel occupancy rates have been decreasing due to a reduction in the number of Russian and European tourists, the holy month of Ramadan, during which many local tourists prefer to spend at home, and the continuation of unseasonable cold weather, according to sector representatives. 

“Sector representatives and hoteliers have not been offered support by the state. The government said various support would be given to lure more Russian tourists to Turkey, but as sector representatives, we do not know whether this support was offered or would work,” said the vice president of the Turkish Hoteliers’ Federation (TÜROFED), Sururi Çorabatır. 

He said the number of employees at the federation decreased from 450 last year to 350 this year due to the declining tourist numbers. 

“We may slash the figure to 300 unless the figures improve,” he said. 

Çorabatır said the number of European tourists visiting Turkey was decreasing as well. 

“We have seen some 300,000 fewer tourists in the Mediterranean coast of Antalya compared to last year,” said TÜROFED head Osman Ayık. 

This is also the case for the Aegean provinces, according to sector representatives. The Aegean district of Bodrum hosted 12 percent fewer tourists in May compared to the same month in 2014. 

The occupancy rate of the hotels is around 80 percent in Istanbul, but around 70 percent in coastal areas, according to sector representatives. 

“The number of Italian tourists visiting Istanbul in the first five months of the year decreased by 17 percent from last year, Russian tourists by 16 percent and Spanish tourists by 8 percent. The number of Iranian tourists, however, increased by 35 percent in the first five months of the year compared to the same period 2014,” said Small Hotels Association President Ömer Faruk Boyacı.