Turkish tourism sector enjoys local holidaymaker boom over Eid holiday
Aysel Alp - ANKARA
More than nine million local tourists have spent 9 billion Turkish Liras ($1.5 billion) on Turkish resorts in the last nine-day Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday, with Turkish holidaymakers who visited Greece seeing a sharp plunge amid the lira’s fall.
Turkish tourism representatives have praised this increase in the number of local tourists.
“More than nine million local holidaymakers have made a 9 billion lira contribution to the Turkish economy. In the wake of a sharp increase in the value of the U.S. dollar and euro against the lira, most of our citizens preferred local resorts, especially in the Aegean region, to spend their Eid holiday. The Aegean resorts of Bodrum and Marmaris attracted 1.5 million holidaymakers during the holiday. Up to 1.2 million tourists preferred to stay in İzmir’s Çeşme and Muğla’s Fethiye,” said the vice president of the Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), Mehmet İşler.
“Other Aegean resorts, including Ayvalık, Assos, Foça, Dikili, Alaçatı, Kuşadası and Didim, also lured thousands of local holidaymakers,” added İşler, who is also the head of the Aegean Touristic Facilities Association (ETİK).
During the nine-day public holiday, airlines carried nearly 3.5 million people mainly to local destinations.
İşler also noted the number of arrivals by Turkish holidaymakers to Greece witnessed a sharp decline amid the lira’s fall.
“We have seen almost a 70 percent decline in the number of Turks visiting Greece compared to the previous Eid holiday,” he added.
Greece was one of the most popular destinations for Turkish tourists over the last couple of years, as more than 1 million Turks visited the country last year.
A visa facilitation program that allows Turkish travelers and citizens of third countries to visit select Greek islands in the eastern Aegean was extended for one year in April 2018.
The program allows travelers to stay up to seven days on the Greek islands.
This year, the number of Greeks visiting Turkey has been rising, according to İşler.
“Many Greeks have now been flocking to Turkey to buy various stuff, including sun protection products and medicine or ceramics for much lower costs,” he added.