BY FEHMI KOFTEOGLU
“We are the cheapest country in tourism, we have become the ‘China’ of tourism.”
With reference to the fact that China is a cheap country, such statements and evaluations are made as a criticism of Turkey being a cheap country for tourism. High service quality and prices offered by Turkey in tourism are inversely proportional. However, it’s a fact that Turkey is cheaper than its rivals.
From this point of view let’s ask: Can Turkey be the ‘China’ of tourism? And is it bad to be the China of tourism?
In order to give a realistic answer to this question, let’s take a look at China. At the end of 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, there were thousands of ‘cheap jack’ stores across the world where Chinese goods were sold for USD 1, GBP 1, EUR 1, TRY 1, etc.
China manufactured millions of products, in some cases even tens of millions, which were sold at those prices. Consumers from every country had access to products at those prices that they couldn’t even imagine buying before.
At the same time, the sales of these cheap products reduced unemployment in the country of 1.4 billion people, helped expand social programs and development and grew the economy. It also enhanced the country’s power in militarily and politically.
China is spreading its influence around the world today with its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’.
It’s clear that China’s ‘cheapness’ was beneficial for the country and the world. Now let’s ask if there was a harm?
No. Consumers are happy with ‘cheapness’. International trade has accelerated, and China has become the engine of the global economy. But can Turkey do the same thing in tourism? Can Turkey become the ‘China’ of tourism?
Let’s seek the answer to this question by considering the China case.
It’s noteworthy that China also manufactured products for expensive brands in the U.S., Europe, and other countries around the world alongside the world’s cheapest products.
Let’s look at the situation in Turkey.
If Turkey is placed near the top among the world’s major tourism countries, this hasn’t happened by the grace of God. Considering people invested, operated and managed the accommodation sector, which is Turkey’s engine in tourism, those who had one hotel, built their second, third and fourth hotels.
Using a colloquial reference, owners of those hotels didn’t make these investments by selling their wives’ bracelets. Those investors, hotel people, and managers reached this point today after they made money, even though they made cheap sales.
In the meantime, there are countries whose tourism revenue per capita amounts to USD 2,000-3,000. These countries don’t have influence on global tourism, as their number of visitors is limited to hundreds of thousands or a few million. There is no country whose tourism revenue per capita is USD 2,000 among those that receive tens of millions of people.
Turkey, which is criticized as the cheap country of tourism, has become a case study for other countries, including its rivals.
How about we consider being the China of tourism from this point of view?
Turkey is more attractive for Brits in winter
Turkey ranks first among the top 10 destinations visited by British citizens in the winter season, according to Travel Money survey prepared under the umbrella of the UK-based Post Office. In line with the research, which examined 10 destinations, including Turkey and Portugal, Turkey took the lead in terms of price, season, and service. The report also said the appreciation of GBP against TRY by 25% on a yearly basis is an additional advantage in this respect.
For a comparison of holiday destinations, the best half pension price can be found by adding the holiday package price to the cost of food and drinks, according to Nick Boden, Product Director of Travel Money. “For instance, resorts in Istria peninsula in Croatia were most expensive among the countries in the survey, while their average package prices were the second cheapest compared to Turkey,” said Boden. “While resort prices are declining significantly in Cyprus, the cost of a one-week package is doubling the package of the top three cheapest destinations, making it the most expensive destination,” he added.
10% LOWER THAN 2019
Prices in Marmaris are lower than half of prices in all other destinations excluding Algarve, which took second place in the Travel Money survey. Cost of food and drinks further decreased by 10% compared to 2019, when the previous survey was conducted.
When the average cost of a one-week package contract for two adults and two children are calculated, families can easily find a holiday package in Turkey for GBP 1,507 and in Croatia for GBP 1,510, according to the Travel Money survey. The same package can be found for GBP 1,598 in Algarve, GBP 3,626 in Cyprus, while the average price in Greece except Corfu amounts to GBP 2,739. In this case, Turkey becomes one of the two cheapest destinations.