Türkiye seeks to lure Chinese tourists, homebuyers

Türkiye seeks to lure Chinese tourists, homebuyers

Türkiye seeks to lure Chinese tourists, homebuyers

Türkiye is hoping to lure potential homebuyers from China and more Chinese tourists this year as Beijing relaxed travel rules after three years.

Even before COVID-19 hit the world, tourist inflow from China to Türkiye had increased. People from the tourism industry expect more Chinese tourists starting from April, while Chinese travelers are already making reservations in Türkiye for the Chinese New Year later this month.

The most favorite destinations of Chinese holidaymakers are Cappadocia and Istanbul.

Experts also anticipate that the increased tourist inflow from China will also give a boost to the local property and housing market, while some Chinese companies are also looking for locations for investments.

Before the pandemic, some 500,000 Chinese tourists visited Türkiye in 2019, up from around 400,000 in the previous year. Back in 2004, Türkiye attracted only 35,000 Chinese holidaymakers, and the 100,000-mark was surpassed in 2012, according to data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

High-spending Chinese tourists travel to different locations in the country, including the western province of Çanakkale, the southwestern province of Denizli’s Pamukkale, known for its mineral-rich thermal waters and white travertine terraces, the northwestern province of Bursa and the district of Safranbolu, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“Hotels have started to receive reservations from Chinese tourists, particularly for the [Chinese] New Year holiday, which lasts some eight to 10 days. The main problem is that there are not enough flights,” said Teyfik Ölmez, the president of the Cappadocia Touristic Hoteliers and Operators’ Association (KAPTİD).

He recalled that there were flights 21 weekly flights before the pandemic.

Property investments

Chinese people buy properties in Türkiye mostly for obtaining Turkish citizenship, which allows them to undertake investments in the U.S
, said Bayram Tekçe from the Real Estate International Promotion Association (GİGDER), noting that Chinese people bought $52 billion worth of real estate across the globe in 2016.

Chinese investors have shown strong interest in buying properties in Türkiye in the past years, according to Hakan Bucak, board chair of MARS.

The pandemic put a break on property sales to the Chinese, but sales are likely to pick up after the COVID-related restrictions are relaxed now, Bucak said.

Companies will probably hold more tours for potential Chinese homebuyers to promote their real estate projects, Bucak noted, adding that he expects well-off Chinese to increase their purchase of properties in Türkiye.