Source: Xinhua
Editor: huaxia
2022-11-09 03:58:15

Tourists visit the ancient city of Side in Antalya, Türkiye, on November 6, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
by Burak Akinci
ANKARA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) — As tourist inflows beat consensus, Türkiye has revised its annual tourism targets upward, counting on the industry to deliver 44 billion U.S. dollars in revenues to keep the economy growing.
The uptick came in light of better-than-expected outcomes in tourist arrivals, said Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy last week, adding tourism activity is strong in October.
He estimated that by the end of 2022, the annual tourist numbers will be close to the booming pre-pandemic level of 2019 when Türkiye had welcomed 51.7 million foreign visitors.

Tourists visit the ancient city of Side in Antalya, Türkiye, on November 6, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
Official statistics showed that foreign tourist arrivals in the January-September period rose by 98 percent year-on-year to 40.25 million.
The tourism revenues in the third quarter leaped by 27 percent, showed statistics released by the Turkish Statistical Institute in late October.
This is the second revision the ministry made amid the strong rebound in tourism activity. In July, Ersoy announced that the annual targets were to be raised from 42 million to 47 million in tourist numbers, while revenues from 34 billion dollars to 37 billion dollars.
“With winter visitors, new targets are likely to be reached,” Tuna Erman, a travel agent from Antalya, Türkiye’s tourism hub on the Mediterranean, told Xinhua.
Erman said there is a significant increase in demand from northern European countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Britain, adding that the trend is in part driven by the incentive of a Turkish lira that devalued nearly 30 percent this year.

A man swims in the sea in Antalya, Türkiye, on November 6, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

Esra Demir, another travel agent based in the capital city of Ankara, said that surging energy bills in Europe also drove up reservations in the winter, stressing that Turkish resorts were still in high demand among Europeans and other incoming tourists this month.
A swath of European Union member states heading into winter has felt the bite of an energy crunch after Russia cut gas supplies in response to Western sanctions imposed over its special military operation in Ukraine.
“As the winter has not set in yet in Turkey and the Mediterranean coast, in particular, where the weather is still very sunny, foreign visitors are flocking in,” she said.
Firuz Baglikaya, board chair of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, said the tourism activity has been going on as expected in 2022, despite the spillover effects of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on tourism.
“Arrivals from alternative markets, such as the Middle East, Germany, and Britain have been on the rise, which helps compensate for the losses,” he said.

A teller displays cash at an exchange office in Ankara, Türkiye, on August 2, 2022. Türkiye’s lira accelerated losses against hard currencies and with low capital inflows as well as a large amount of short-term external debt looming on the horizon, the country’s economic woes are far from over, experts said. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

Hard currency brought in by the tourism industry is key for the Turkish economy to navigate through 85 percent annual inflation and high foreign debt repayments.
The 2023 tourist season will be much better, Baglikaya stated, adding that the target is to make Türkiye one of the top three countries in global tourism.
But digesting a swamp of tourists in a prolonged season is challenging as the tourism workforce usually has a high turnover.
And recruiting staff to stay for a longer-than-usual season incurs more costs, said Burhan Sili, a hotel owner in Antalya’s Alanya district.
“When the winter sets in, energy for heating and personnel costs will rise significantly, therefore not all resorts will remain open,” he told Xinhua. 


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