The tourism sector, which experienced a “good” season in 2023 despite the wars and conflicts in the nearby region, has high expectations for the coming year..
The tourism sector started 2024 reservations early. Stating that the demand from abroad is more intense than last year, tourism sector representatives say that prices will increase by 20 percent on a foreign currency basis in 2024.
Stating that prices increased by 15-20 percent on a foreign currency basis this year, Recep Yavuz, Chairman of the Antalya City Council Tourism Group, emphasized that they foresee an increase at the same rate in 2024. Stating that vacation in Turkey will not be cheap, Yavuz pointed out that high demand, the increase in taxes and ticket prices, as well as high inflation will increase the prices of vacations all over the world.
Sector representatives, who predict that the European market will grow by 10-15 percent in 2024, foresee that the Commonwealth of Independent States market will remain the same. They especially draw attention to the growth in the UK market.
While the traces of the pandemic were erased in 10 months of this year, the number of visitors hit a record by exceeding 50 million. Despite the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and developments in Europe, hotels are receiving solid bookings for the 2024 season. The tourism sector in Turkey, which is especially popular with British, German and Russian tourists, started the contracts for the next season in August instead of October. Sharing the forecast that travel will increase by 5-10 percent in 2024, tourism experts state that the two biggest risks for next year are inflation and shortage of qualified personnel.
“There is a significant increase from the UK”
Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators Association (AKTOB) President Kaan Kasif Kavaloglu stated that despite all the negativities in the region, Turkey’s tourism sector had a good year, and said that 2024 bookings are also above this year. Kavaloglu said, “The first reservations come from the UK market, followed by Germany. We are currently receiving very solid reservations from the UK for 2024. There are early booking periods set for them. At least 10 percent of the British make reservations by the end of September. But this rate reaches almost 40 percent at the end of October. Therefore, we have completed 50 percent of our sales from the British market before the year has even arrived.”
Kavaloglu pointed out that the number of tourists from the UK exceeded 1 million last year for the first time and that this number will exceed 1.5 million this year. Pointing out that Poland has become the fourth source market with the number of tourists exceeding 1 million, Kavaloglu said, “Ukraine was a very important market, but we suffered a great loss in that market with the war. Fortunately, Poland started to close the gap of Ukraine. Local tour operators’ recent investments in Poland play a huge role in this.”
Noting that 2024 has started fast in tourism, Erkan Yagci, President of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), said: “We see that the United Kingdom has become one of Turkey’s main source markets like Russia and Germany. Tour operators and hoteliers are holding serious negotiations here. I believe that the UK market should reach the level of 5 million in the near future and we see the signs of this.”
Rıza Percin, Chairman of the Mediterranean Regional Representative Board of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, said that if the war between Russia and Ukraine ends, there will be very good developments in tourism. Percin expects 2024 also to be a year with new records.
“Pricing in pounds is an advantage”
Burak Tonbul, Chairman of Diana Travel, said: “By the end of this year, we expect the number of British citizens coming to Antalya by air to exceed 1 million 200 thousand. Antalya has never exceeded 600 thousand in the UK market. This is an important growth and we need to read this growth carefully. Turkey’s biggest advantage is that it offers pound price to the UK market. We do not offer prices in Euros like other European countries or other countries we compete with. Although this creates disadvantages from time to time, it is currently an advantage. In 2024, we will bring 800-850 thousand people. Approximately 450 thousand of this number will be from Germany, approximately 300 thousand from the UK and roughly 150 thousand from other markets we represent.”
TURKEY WILL OVERTAKE FRANCE IN VISITOR NUMBERS IN 2024
According to the Global Travel Report published by the World Travel Market (WTM), Turkey has experienced a surprising increase in the number of visitors. Turkey is projected to overtake France as the second most visited country in Europe in 2024. The total number of visits to Europe fell by 3 percent, from 440 million in 2019 to 428 million in 2023. In Turkey, however, these numbers are on the rise. According to the WTM report, the most popular European country in terms of tourism was Spain, followed by France. However, the report predicts that Turkey’s appeal will continue in 2024, overtaking France as the second most visited country in Europe. WTM forecasts that tourism growth in Spain, France and Turkey will continue, increasing by 74, 80 and 72 percent respectively.
Tour operators very optimistic
Stefan Baumert, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TUI Deutschland, said, “We are planning a 25 percent increase in terms of Turkey in the summer of 2024. Charters will start from Czechia as our new source market, and these people will come to your hotels.” Ingo Burmester, CEO of Der Touristik, said that they had double-digit growth in Turkey last year and that there was a significant increase in sales in Turkey this winter.