The future of the tourism industry: ‘Able Tourism’


The 11th International Resort Congress was held on November 25 at Nirvana Cosmopolitan Lara in Antalya.

Representatives from the tourism industry and representatives from sector-related fields including Dr. Ian Yemon, Futurist and Associate Professor of Tourism Management from Wellington School of Business and Government in New Zealand, attended the congress, held under the theme, ’The Future of Tourism, Tourism of the Future’.

The congress was organized by the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Investors Association (AKTOB). At the event, Dr. Erkan Yagci, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AKTOB, made a comprehensive speech about the ‘The Future of Tourism’, half of the theme of the event.

Dr. Yagci talked about the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry and its reflection on both the world and Turkey. He made the following statements about the future of tourism:

The holiday may achieve its actual meaning for the first time.

Tourism and travel are motivate us to become thinkers and creators. They make us reborn.

The future of tourism will most likely be ‘Able Tourism’.

We are in the period of ‘Reconstruction’.

What do people want? And what will the sector do to give them this?

They want to tranquility recreate themselves, to get rid of their burdens, i.e., with the Sunday detox.

To do so, services offered must be ‘able-sustainable,’ from the kitchen to the front office, from rooms to services.

We call this ‘Able Tourism’.

‘Able Tourism’ means creating sustainability with both discourse and actions. Our main challenge for are the challenging market conditions brought by competition:

To set the price, to control costs, to pay loans, to keep employment qualified, to be able to manage energy consumption and cost, to harmonize investment and renewal with the needs of vacationers, these will be challenges.

But will we do this all alone?

We won’t. Tourism is supplied by goods and services from more than 50 sectors in our country. That’s why we must work together with them on this.

We’ve seen during the pandemic that these sectors have shrunk when tourism came to a halt.

We must make tourism ‘able’ in order to address these points.

Although digital and virtual tools are used in our field, the business we do isn’t virtual. ‘Able’ tourism will make them visible, perceivable.

Turkey is among the countries with the smallest loss in the tourism sector

As the year comes to an end, the travel industry improved in Turkey and around the world in 2021 as compared to 2020. Yet, it has still performed poorly compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) evaluated this situation as a slow and uneven recovery.

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals were 76% below pre-pandemic levels around the world in the January and September period.

Despite improvement in Q3 of this year, the pace of recovery remains uneven across the world. Visitors and revenues decreased in this period as compared to 2019.

Considering the distribution of losses in the tourism industry by country, Turkey is among the countries that has fared comparatively well. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, Croatia was the country with the least loss, with tourism decreasing by just 19% in 2021 compared to 2019. Croatia was followed by Mexico at 20% and Turkey at 35%.

A similar situation was observed in tourism revenues. Turkey and Mexico were the two countries that experienced the most minimal loss in international tourism revenues in Q3 2021 compared to 2019. Tourism revenues dropped by just 20% in the two countries as compared to 2019. Tourism revenues declined by 37% in Germany and 27% in France in the same period, for comparison.

The pandemic will continue to affect the tourism economy, according to the UNWTO. The tourism direct gross domestic product is estimated to decrease by USD 2tr in 2021, as they did in 2020. Global revenues from international tourism could reach USD 700-800bn in 2021, below the USD 1.7tr revenue recorded in 2019.

Tourism targets revised for the fourth time

The Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy has revised the tourism target for 2021 for the fourth time. Speaking in a televised interview with CNN Turk on October 20, Ersoy, who set Turkey’s target tourism revenue for 2021 as USD 20bn at the beginning of the year, said they upgraded the figure to USD 22bn. Ersoy also stated during his opening speech at the 11th International Resort Congress that the target number of foreign tourists has been revised from 28 million to 29 million for 2021. “Now, we’ve revised our goal to 29 million foreign visitors and USD 24bn in tourism revenues,” he added.

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