From the first months of 2015, Turkish tourism professionals have predicted the decline in tourist arrivals especially from Russia which is one of the most important source markets of the Turkish tourism industry. In parallel to tourist arrivals, tourism income figures also decline. However, Turkish tourism industry had hopes of recovery with the last minute sales.
According to the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, foreign arrivals fell 2.25 percent to 14.89 million people in the first six months. Turkey’s tourism income decreased by 13.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, down $7.73 billion compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
The number of Russian tourists who made up almost 16 percent of Turkey’s visitors last year, declined 19 percent year-on-year in June to 652,703 from 805,291 a year ago.
According to a report of Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB), Antalya welcomed a total of 6,220,762 tourists in the first 7 months of 2015. Last year’s number for the same period was 6,644,905.
Moreover, the number of British tourists visiting Turkey has been decreasing as well.
Due to lower than expected revenue over the summer, the mayors of three Aegean resort towns in Muğla called on the education and tourism ministries to postpone the start of the school year by two weeks to include the Eid al-Ahda (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday from September 24 to 27. This call was later supported by many tourism organizations, including the Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB).
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on August 20 that the planned reopening date for schools has been rescheduled from September 14 to September 28 and the end of the school year has also been shifted to June 17, 2016 in line with requests from the tourism sector.
TUROB President Timur Bayındır said, “The reschedule will have a small contribution, however it won’t have an effect on covering much of the losses. The decision of reopening date for schools only covers state schools. Students who study in public schools generally have tight budget. They don’t go on holiday much. The ones who go on holiday, usually book their holidays earlier. If the reschedule covers private schools as well impact could be much greater”.
With escalating violence within and around the country and rising economic problems in Russia, Turkey’s tourism should get ready a similar or worse year in 2016.