Yacht tourism experiencing a good year: Tourism players

Yacht tourism experiencing a good year: Tourism players

Burak Coşan – ISTANBUL
Yacht tourism experiencing a good year: Tourism players

Turkey is observing a 20 percent increase in demand for boats and yachts rented by tourists, especially foreign, this year, tourism players have said.

“There is a 20 percent increase in the number of foreign tourists in the sector compared to the previous year. The increase in the number of British tourists is drawing attention particularly. Russians, Kuwaitis and Bahrainis are also coming to Turkey,” Bodex Travel Yachting Agency’s director Gül Gözütok told daily Hürriyet.

“Although there is a fall in the number of Saudi tourists, the ones coming from Morocco and Tunisia are making the sector happy,” she said.

Gül said that tourists accommodating on boats and yachts spend more than those staying in hotels and the daily cost of luxurious boats range between 4,000 euros and 20,000 euros, depending on the type of the vessel. The meal prices are not included in the costs of these boats, which usually accommodate up to 12 people, said Gül.

“When they [foreign tourists] come, they do a lot of shopping and spend much more money compared to those who come for the all-inclusive hotels. They fly with Turkish Airlines [more expensive than budget airlines], eat in luxurious restaurants…They pay 300 euros for a dinner [on average],” she said.

Yacht tourism, which had been going through a difficult period for the last couple of years, has entered a recovery process this year. The tourist and yacht charters industry had plunged in 2015, with the boats working only at a capacity of 40 percent. But, as of this year, this rate has risen to 60 percent, said Yacht Tourism Association Chair Begüm Doğulu.

“The owners of gullet and boats are having a good season [this year]. In high season, it is now difficult to find a place on such boats and yachts. The ones that take off from Bodrum [district in the Aegean province of Muğla] and stop by Hisarönü and Göcek bays are very popular. Also it should not be forgotten that yacht customers are spending much more than hotel tourists,” said Doğulu.

The founder of Viravia, which is Turkey’s largest yacht charter platform, has similarly told daily Hürriyet that demand for yacht tourism was quite high this year in the country.

Indicating that there are 4,000 yachts registered on the online platform, Emre Küçüközkan said: “We mediate in the rental of boats and yachts from 22 countries, especially Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain. There is a marking increase in the interest for yacht tourism from Turkish tourists in the last three years.”

About 2.5-fold increase has been recently marked in the number of people accessing the Viravia platform compared to the previous years, said Küçüközkan. “The perception that boat vacation is a luxury started to be demolished. A person can now make a vacation for 1,500 Turkish Liras ($260) on the boat. The prices change depending on the season, the type of the vessel and the service give. The interest for blue cruise in Turkey comes at most from the British, German and French tourists,” he said.

The head of yacht tourism department of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), Gündüz Nalbantoğlu, has said that although there is a marking increase in the number of tourists in the sector compared to previous year, the settlements in the bays need to stop for this sector to be “sustainable” in the long-run.

“Tourists that come for the yacht tourism come to see the untouched bays. But if they see that the settlements have increased in the bays, they will not come again. As much as the number of tourists, the protection of bays is very important,” Nalbantoğlu said.