Turkey upbeat on tourism growth for 2023

Ankara: Turkish officials and industry insiders are optimistic about the country’s tourism growth in 2023, as they believe a rebound in tourism this year and a weaker currency will boost the sector’s growth.

Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told parliament earlier this month that the sector aims to attract 60 million foreign visitors next year, and the sector is expected to generate $56 billion in revenue, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are revising our year-end target for 2022 to 51.5 million visitors and $46 billion in revenue,” he said.

The figures are up slightly from an official target set in October, when officials expected the country to welcome 50 million foreign tourists and generate $44 billion in tourism revenue by the end of the year.

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According to official data released in late October, the number of foreign visitors rose 88.1 percent year-on-year to 39.61 million in the first 10 months of this year, almost matching the pre-pandemic level of 45 million in 2019. Tourists went to Turkey.

“The year 2022 is especially good for the (Turkish) tourism industry. Occupancy rates are over 90 percent in most resorts,” said Kan Sahinalp, a representative of German tourism giant TUI in Turkey.

“This year is improving in terms of tourism revenues for the coming years. If Turkey continues on its sustainability path, the future looks bright,” he said in a recent interview.

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Moreover, analysts say Turkey’s weak currency will also make the country’s tourism sector more competitive.

Turkey’s currency, the lira, has lost 70 percent of its value against the greenback since last year. One US dollar is now equal to 18.69 liras, compared to around 8 liras in September 2021.

Although tourism has seen a strong recovery in countries such as Turkey after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned in a report in early December that the post-pandemic rebound in tourism is at risk of slowing. The global economy is reeling from an energy shock caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, high inflation and weak household purchasing power.

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Global tourism is unlikely to recover until 2024 or 2025, or even later, the report said.

Sahinalp said Turkey should continue diversifying its tourism industry to attract more tourists interested in cultural and historical excursions.

According to Jafar Alkaya, a hotel manager in the Antalya region along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, the country’s tourism industry has a significant advantage over its competitors due to its high-quality service.

“It is time to turn this advantage into a tourism success in 2023,” he said.

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