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Turkey's Predicted Tourism Slump - What's going wrong?

8th February 2016

2016 - The Year of Turkey's Tourism Slump

You might think the above title is a little presumptuous, after all we're barely in February so it might be a bit early to say 2016 is going to be a slump for tourism?

Unfortunately while it's still early days and a recovery isn't impossible, the early signs and predictions from industry experts all seem to back up the belief that 2016 is going to be a definite slump for Turkey's tourism industry.

So what's going wrong?

Turkey's tourism slump wasn't caused by one singular event, the damage was caused by a multitude of different events which have damaged Turkey's reputation to foreign visitors. The Russian Jet crisis and the recent spate or terrorist attacks around the globe are just two of the primary causes for Turkey's dwindling tourism numbers.

In June of last year costal resorts reported occupancy levels of around 70% by no means terrible but not exactly excellent either and this was before many of the events that have further damaged Turkey's reputation occurred.

The official figures for last year show only a slight drop in the total number of foreign arrivals at around 1.3% when compared to 2014. However the figures only count from January – November and when we isolate the Russian and European figures we can see a sharp drop.

The Turkish Tourism Minister Mahir Ünal announced in January that measures will be taken to recover from the loss of Russian visitors. And some estimates stated that due to issues between Turkey and Russia in 2015, Turkey could have easily lost over 4 million potential Russian visitors.

Moving forward

Taking everything into account it becomes clear that it might not actually be too early to say 2016 is going to be bad year for the tourism in Turkey. Turkey is going to need time to work through the problems facing it and wait for relations to start to develop again.

It's a time of deep reflection for Turkey's tourism industry and it will hopefully come back stronger than before. Turkey's reputation as a peaceful, vibrant and most importantly safe and secure country was definitely tarnished at the latter end of 2015, and it suffered again this January and it will take time to rebuild from that.

Facts and Figures

Despite all the problems in 2015, Turkey still did relatively well overall as these figures show. It made $35 Billion in tourism making it the 12th placed country overall and Istanbul was the sixth most visited city in the world, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index and they think it might even make it into the top 5 in 2016.

So while the future isn't exactly promising Turkey's tourism sector is still holding relatively strong all things considered. 2016 might not be the best of years for Turkey's tourism industry but it might do it a lot of good in the long run, because it gives people time to work of the problems and build a better future.

Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team

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Comments (2)


9th February 2016 Having been travelling to Turkey at least once a year since 1985 and seeing the tourist industry's spectacular growth at first hand, I have promoted the attractions of the country to many people who have followed my recommendation to visit Turkey. I am now finding, however, resistance to the idea, not, in the main, because of the terrorist threat or perception thereof, but because of economic factors.

Firstly, it has to be said, the majority of British holidaymakers enjoy consuming alcohol whilst on holiday. The continuing increases in taxation being levelled on this product are making Turkey a more expensive destination than other European destinations such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, the Czech Republic and Greece.

Secondly, the outrageous prices being charged, by food and drink franchises at Turkish Airports, creates a further financial disincentive to holidaymakers and

Thirdly, the increasing cost of air travel to Turkey vis a vis to nearer countries increases the financial disincentive to holiday there, particularly in view of the rapid increases in food prices being heralded in the media.

It is, perhaps, time for the Turkish Tourist Industry to lobby the Government, in order that the conditions which made Turkey so attractive in the past are, to some degree, restored and tourists once more have an economic, as well as a cultural, incentive to travel


9th February 2016 I understand that many thousands of Russian citizens have bought vacation homes in southern Turkey near Antalya. Are those property owners just going to stop traveling to enjoy their investments????

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