Winter tourism rises in Turkey, but more investments needed

Winter tourism rises in Turkey, but more investments needed

Winter tourism rises in Turkey, but more investments needed

Turkey has only 51 facilities despite a great potential. DHA Photo

The number of winter tourists in Turkey has doubled over the last decade, increasing from 2.7 million in 2004 to 4.8 million this year, but more investments are needed to realize the country’s potential in the sector, said the latest Winter Tourism report of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).

“There are 51 skiing facilities in Turkey and the bed capacity of the winter hotels exceeds 9,549 right now. More investments are needed to realize the full potential of winter tourism in Turkey, which wants to host the Winter Olympic Games,” said the report.  

The average room prices in the leading winter tourism spots in Turkey are rising. The average room price for one person is around 500 Turkish Liras ($216) in the northwestern winter tourism center of Uludağ for the forthcoming school winter break, almost three times higher than the prices in popular Bulgarian winter tourism spot Bansko. An average cost of a five-day winter holiday in the northwestern winter tourism center of Kartalkaya is 3,200 liras ($1,378), and 2,100 liras ($908) in the Eastern Anatolian center of Palandöken, according to the report.

These are close to the figures in Austria and Italy, said the report.

“Turkey will host almost 5 million winter tourists this year. New facilities in Turkey’s leading winter tourism centers in Uludağ, Kartalkaya, Palandöken and Kartepe have played a large role in the rise of winter tourists. Turkey can lure more tourists as long as new facilities are built,” said TÜRSAB head, Başaran Ulusoy.

Turkey is ranked 18th on the list of countries with the most skiing facilities. The global leader is the Alpines region, with more than 36 percent of the world’s skiing centers. It is followed by America with 22 percent and Western Europe with 12 percent. There are 47 skiing centers in the world that host over 1 million people annually. Over 83 percent of these centers are located in the Alpines, according to the TÜRSAB report, and more than 45 percent of winter tourists use a facility in the Alpines.

Turkey’s skiing facilities are good, as they could compete with facilities in the Alpines in terms of quality, popularity and price policy, said the report.

The most skiing centers are in Japan, which has 547 facilities, followed by Germany with 498 and the U.S. with 481, according to the report. Turkey has 51 facilities.

“Skiing is possible in more than 48 cities in Turkey, which has 435 mountains over 1,000 meters in height. Turkey has great potential for increased winter tourism and needs more investments, especially in Eastern Anatolia,” said the report.