Where have all the Germans gone?
The crowds of Germans that once thronged on Antalya’s beaches and cobbled streets and bought Antalya apartments are no longer to be seen. Historically, Germans made up one of the largest groups of visitors to Turkey, accounting for 15 percent of the country’s tourists last year. But a diplomatic spat involving a German human rights worker arrested in Turkey has seen German officials warn against travelling to Turkey.
Where are the Germans?
After last year’s coup attempt, security has been stepped up in Turkey’s popular resorts. The increased sight of police and special forces roaming the streets causes consternation and nervousness among European tourists, locals believe, causing many to stay home.
And in a move that will exacerbate the situation further, after the arrest of a German human rights worker in Turkey, German officials are advising against travelling to or conducting business in Turkey, saying tourists’ safety could not be guaranteed.
Addressing the European shortfall
Last year, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey dropped to 25.3 million - a 30 percent drop over 2015. The low numbers saw tourism revenue drop a corresponding 30 percent over 2015 to $22.1.
Within these numbers we can see that the overall number of European visitors to Turkey has been declining since 2014. As a result, hotel operators and tourism officials are reorienting their marketing towards Middle Eastern and Balkans nations to make up the lost revenue.
Hotel operators are holding tourism fairs in new markets and hiring representatives abroad to try and draw in tourists from a wide range of countries. This summer has seen more tourists from Iran, Iraq and Balkan countries than ever before.
So, while Germans are staying away, other tourists have begun to return. As of the end of July, 2017, more than five million tourists travelled to Turkey - almost 84 percent of the total number of people who travelled to Turkey in 2016.
Russians return to Antalya
Since the beginning of the year, two million Russian tourists have visited Antalya alone, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. That’s a 62 percent increase over last year. Russians stopped visiting Turkey after a Russian aircraft was shot down after military forces. But after resolving the conflict, Russian travel companies once again began marketing Turkey to holidaying Russians.
Antalya’s governor, Munir Karalogu, said Russians accounted for the greatest rise in the southern region, which expects around ten million tourists this year - around the same number as 2015.
More than a million Russians visited in June, and twice as many again in July, contributing to an influx that’s seeing 68,000 tourists arrive each day via Antalya Airport.
“A bend in the road”
Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin says Turkey’s seen its ups and downs and this is just another shift. “It’s just a bend in the road. Turkey’s weathered diplomatic upsets and natural disasters just like any other country. The tourists always come back because Turkey is a large, diverse country with many opportunities for tourists, business travellers and investors.”