“While our government is selling us dreams, Turkey's tourism is actually sinking” Turkish tourism experts “from the field” an optimistic forecast, which was announced by the Minister of Treasury and Finance Nureddin Nebati. The government's dream is to keep the Turkish lira's rising exchange rate with “quick money” coming from tourism, but the picture they paint is far from the truth, Turkish experts say.
So far, according to data for February, Turkey has already received 2.8 million tourists. But this is 20% less than in 2020, in the last months before the pandemic. At the same time, a decline was recorded in several markets at once – this, as expected, is Russia and Ukraine, whose share was 27.3% of the total number of tourists in the “pandemic” years, and in 2019 – 19%. The second market that Turkey is massively losing, by the way, is domestic tourism – in a crisis, citizens do not plan to go on vacation. By the way, this can also affect the German market.
Therefore, the optimistic forecast, which was voiced by the Minister of Treasury and Finance, Nureddin Nebati, aroused sharp criticism. Recall, he said literally the following: “I believe that we will exceed our goal of 45 million tourists and $ 35 billion in tourism revenue.” Read the details here.
According to Serdar Karcilyoglu, President of the Bodrum Association of Professional Hotel Managers (BOYD), the minister's optimism is based on the occupancy data of Istanbul's hotels – and is largely unfounded. “It is not correct to generalize the fullness of Istanbul to Turkey. Because the number of beds in Istanbul corresponds to 10 percent of the number of beds in Turkey. We cannot index it to Turkey by resort regions,” the expert emphasized. Alas, in the resorts the reality is much darker.
“Hoteliers carry a huge debt burden and can no longer use credit. Hotel owners owe $8 billion. To pay off the debt, hoteliers sell rooms at prices below their costs. There are hotels selling all inclusive for 200 TL. But even that is not enough,” he said. He also recalled that some hotels focused on the Russian market have not yet opened at all, and others have not yet exceeded 35% occupancy.
The local resorts are no better off. Köksal Yıldırım, a hotel operator in Seferihisar, told tourism media that only 30 were booked at his 150-bed hotel. “No activity as expected. The economic crisis in the country, of course, is the main reason. Tourists can't go on holiday, even though many hoteliers charge below cost to get some money. This is a 50% loss compared to the holiday season last year,” he said. The expert also supported the general position of the business: “We are going bankrupt and drowning while the authorities are selling dreams.”
For those who care about a healthy lifestyle, we recommend reading: “The Russians were told when you can get very fat from fruits.”