Turkish tourism in despair: need to be realistic - the worst is yet to come

tourists from Russia and Ukraine,” such a statement was voiced in the Turkish media by experts from the tourist market. According to them, despite the fact that Turkish tourism officials “make strange statements” about alternative markets, there is nothing to objectively close the decline in Russian tourist flow – and this will be obvious by the beginning of the summer season.

Experts skeptically remind that at the end of February, at the beginning of the Russian special operation, the Minister of Tourism and Culture Mehmed Ersoy made a “strange statement” that “this will not affect us.” Allegedly, the deficit of Russian and Ukrainian tourists will be closed at the expense of alternative markets. Since then, the Turkish tourist industry has removed Ukrainian tourists from the agenda for at least the next two years, as for the Russian, optimists believe that restrictions on tourist flow will be raised, pessimists believe that sanctions will bury it, but in general, in any case, optimistic forecasts that 2022 will catch up with 2019 it is not destined to come true – and “losses are unpredictable.”

Of course, the tourist industry is also preparing for the search for alternative markets. So. President of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Sururi Chorabatir said that Turkey can make up for this decline by “bridging the gap with old friends.” Bets are placed primarily on Germany, which consistently occupied the second place in the supply of tourists to Turkey. President of the Union of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Firuz Baglıkaya expands this list slightly, adding to it the Balkans, the Middle East, the Turkic Republics and “countries within close flight distance”.

But not everyone succumbs to such optimism. “Research on expanding the range of markets and developing new products is certainly necessary, this must be done. But you must be realistic. There is no market to close the deficit of Russia and Ukraine,” said Recep Yavuz, representative of the Antalya tourism market. He simply recalled the numbers of the resort – in 2021, Antalya received 4.5 million people from Russia and 2.5 million from Ukraine, i.e. in total it is 6.5 million people. They made up more than 55% of those who arrived in Antalya. And in 2020, saving Turkey from the crisis, and at all – 63% of tourists were from Russia and Ukraine. However, the expert did not answer the question of what to do – but the estimates speak for themselves.

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