Hotel occupancy numbers rose in the last quarter after a worrying decline over a number of months, thanks to a rise in the numbers of business meetings, as well as an increase of Iranian tourists. However, overall revenues are still declining, according to the Hotels Association of Turkey (TUROB).
Occupancy rates across Turkey rose to 52.3%, up 5.3% over the same quarter in 2016, TUROB said.
However, hotel revenues continued to decline during the first quarter.
The average cost of a hotel room decreased to 57 euros in the first three months of the year, a drop from 74 euros during the same period in 2016.
Occupancy rates rose due to a rising demand for business meetings in cities like Istanbul and Antalya, and a large number of Iranian tourists visiting Turkey during the Nevruz holiday, TUROB reported.
TUROB also reported that Istanbul hotels suffered the greatest decline, although the cities occupancy rates rose to 56% from 52% the previous year. The average price of a hotel room in Istanbul dropped to 69.8 euros, down from 90.4 euros last year.
Middle East tourist numbers continue to climb
Middle Eastern visitor numbers to Turkey are expected to climb this year, with TUROB anticipating a 4- 6% increase, particularly around Ramadan.
While in 2010 the share of tourists from the Middle East was around 10%, these days it’s over 20%, according to TUROB.
A large proportion of these visitors are travelling to Turkey for health tourism: plastic surgery and other private medical procedures, especially in Istanbul and Antalya. TUROB says a marketing boost for this slice of the tourist industry will make all the difference.
“We have seen a great potential demand from this market for Turkey’s health, wellness and plastic surgery tourism. Promotional campaigns in these areas should get a boost,” the association said.
TUROB expects tourist numbers from Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia to increase over the next year, while tourists from Iraq, Libya and Egypt will probably decline in number.
Turkey courts local tourists
The tourist industry is making a concerted effort to promote Turkey to local travellers, hoping to increase tourism revenue.
Last year, there was a large uptick in the number of Turks taking their holidays within the country, and industry experts are expecting a further rise this year.
“Last year, more than 6 million local tourists traveled across Turkey. We plan to lure more local tourists to national destinations. Our aim is to reach 10 million in this area, but we know that this would not happen overnight.,” said the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation, Osman Ayik.
Ayik added that the quality of Turkey’s tourism services was higher than its neighbours.
“More than $85 billion investments were made in Turkey’s tourism sector. The rise in the number of tourism investments has also fueled infrastructure and airport investments across the country. Our tourism sector has been in front of its counterparts in the surrounding region for 20 to 25 years.”
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