As one of the key trending destinations for 2019, Turkey’s tourism sector is set to soar this year, with a heightened frequency of tourists on the horizon. By Emily Millett.
Turkey is set for a big year. The country has been listed as a top destination for 2019 and according to ABTA Holiday Data, interest in the country was up 69 per cent for this year.
The Ministry of Tourism has been working hard to strengthen Turkey’s position on the map as a must-visit destination, with Cactus Hotels Group working alongside it to promote the country’s offering. The results of this mission are already making themselves known, as vice president, Cactus Hotels Group, Ece Tülbentçi Gürçay said: “From 2019, Turkey started to see the quick turnover of the hard work the ministry is putting towards marketing Turkey’s tourism product. We as Cactus Hotels Group aim to excel at professionally hosting our guests from many different countries and backgrounds, as we’ve been doing for over a decade, alongside our professional crew that focuses on guests’ demands and needs.”
Currently, the key source markets for Turkey include Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS countries, according to director of sales and marketing, Six Senses Kaplankaya, Onur Kademoglu: “Turkey is a great holiday destination with its unique location founded on two continents. It is historically and culturally rich, while Turkish people are hospitable and friendly. The unique Mediterranean climate and beautiful nature of Turkey allow almost six months of summertime in the south. The sandy beaches are splendid, and the sea, especially the Aegean coastline, is the most amazing in Europe.”
With a plethora of travel options on offer, Turkey entices diverse tourism markets, however, some of the main draw cards of the destination remain the coastline, the sea and cultural pursuits.
“The beautiful turquoise beaches of Turkey are unique, alongside the range of cultural activities, entertainment, health and shopping [options],” said Tülbentçi Gürçay. “Current popular trends include gastronomical trips or relaxed getaways by the beach – a heavenly break from everyday life.”
Present in key holiday destinations, such as Bodrum and Izmir, Cactus Hotels Group’s properties are the ideal option for sun, sea and beach holidays. The hotels also house waterparks and restaurants serving up delectable Turkish cuisine.
“Every one of our hotels is close to the seaside, as well as cultural areas, shopping malls and yacht marinas. In the Mediterranean, Turkey is one of the key players in the market, with world-famous hospitality, very high affordability, historical places, cultural activities and incredible cuisine. It is a destination that accommodates every age group and different demands,” Tülbentçi Gürçay added.
Meanwhile, the country’s affordability is proving to be a significant factor that stimulates footfall, as sales manager, Holiday Inn Istanbul, Esra Bilen said: “Turkey has been considered one of the most attractive destinations in recent years because of its affordable prices and the variety of options available to tourists. In addition to classic sun and sea vacations, the country attracts tourists for cultural and historical visits, as well as for MICE. Turkey offers strong cultural tourism opportunities, with a wide-range of folk and traditional cultural festivals.”
According to Bilen, the destination is also working to promote additional tourism alternatives in the long term, such as golf and health tourism.
Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum is also set to diversify its offering this year, with a focus on both business, leisure and events, as marketing manager, Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Alp Sayınlı told TTG: “We are promoting leisure business as a majority, along with a strong focus on MICE and the wedding segments. We also hope to target the growing wellness market with our world-class, award-winning spa, which will amaze our guests with its variety of treatments.”
With the shifting demands of tourists, a newfound drive for sustainable tourism has also been noted in Turkey, with properties such as Six Senses Kaplankaya responding with creative initiatives.
“Nature, culture and wellness oriented sustainable tourism has started to become popular in Turkey in recent years,” said Kademoglu. “Obviously these trends are driven mostly by socio-economic factors related to education, technology, diversity and income levels.”
VEHICLES FOR GROWTH
While Turkey is intrinsically predisposed to tourism popularity, the destination is also focusing on improving its product with a series of new hospitality initiatives and infrastructural developments, such as the recent opening of a new airport in Istanbul.
The first phase of construction was completed in October 2018, with the new airport set to become one of the largest in the world, covering 76.5 million square metres once it is completed. It is predicted that upon the planned opening of the first three runways in 2020, the airport will be able to accommodate an additional 100 million passengers annually, with a target of serving up to 200 million across six runways by 2029. Located some 20 miles outside Istanbul on the coast of the Black Sea, the new Istanbul Airport is set to comprise 228 passport control counters, with 10,000m² devoted to retail, 32,000m² to F&B and 55,000m² to duty free.
“With the opening of the new airport, more tourists are expected to arrive to Turkey,” Bilen told TTG. “With airlines set to fly to over 300 global destinations and an ultramodern terminal, aviation experts say the new Istanbul Airport will be world’s biggest transport hub, connecting the east and west.
“Further investment in recent years in big cities, such as Istanbul and Izmir, is in line with the objective of developing the tourism industry. The positive expectations regarding the number of domestic and foreign visitors in the near future in Turkey are the motivating factors behind these investments,” she concluded.
One of the hottest destinations for 2019, Turkey is gearing up for further success with plenty of tourism evolution in the pipeline.