Sharing his views on the tourism sector, Ferman Doğan, the General Manager of Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum, stated that when looking at the actual numbers, 2022 was a very good season in terms of tourism, and therefore, while setting goals for 2023, the bar was raised accordingly. He said, "Due to the earthquake disaster, the tourism sector suffered a significant loss of 40 days in an important period like early reservations. Then, the fact that the presidential election went to the second round also caused a delay of 3 weeks for the sector. The sharp rise in the dollar exchange rate also affected the domestic market. The next phase of this was the sale of properties to foreigners and the use of these properties for purposes other than their intended use, which affected occupancy rates. While we, as a country, compared ourselves in terms of the tourism sector, Mediterranean countries offered innovations in tourism, while we expected different results by offering the same experience. Therefore, the expectations for tourism in 2023 did not turn out as we wanted."

"What matters is enhancing the experience, increasing length of stay and foreign currency"

Emphasizing that there hasn't been a decrease in the number of tourists throughout Türkiye, and there has even been an increase according to the data announced by the Ministry of Tourism, Ferman Doğan stressed, 'Changes in tourists' length of stay and spending amounts lowered the sector's results in 2023. If we speak specifically about Bodrum and our hotel, we have reached and even exceeded the figures of last year. There were also the effects of climate change; the weather didn't warm up at the beginning of the season, but on the other hand, with the continued warmth in September, I believe the season will extend, and balance will be achieved.'

Exorbitant prices in Bodrum make competitors appealing

Doğan touched upon the fact that with the increase in prices in Bodrum, other destinations have become attractive alternatives, saying, "When you look at places like Spain, Greece, especially the Sharm el-Sheikh region in Egypt, the Maldives, Dubai, Paris, and even London, we, as Bodrum, have become a more expensive destination than many other destinations. However, if we compare what we offer to these countries and cities, it should support these price levels."

Ferman Doğan: We must definitely extend the season to 12 months

Adding that the quality of service, the facilities offered, the service mentality, and the natural beauties of our country are unquestionable, Doğan states that what we offer now must diversify and transform. He says:

"A tourist evaluates whether a city has an events calendar, whether its roads and airports are good enough. We must extend the season to 12 months, diversify tourism, and spread it across all sectors through regional experiences. We need the right price, the right product, the right service, and the right customer profile. There are efforts in this area; our Minister of Tourism has announced a National Sustainable Tourism Program. With these developments, I believe that our sector will be better in the coming period, and it will develop in this direction.

Tourist profiles and criteria are changing

The countries of origin of the tourists coming to our country are changing. For the past 20 years, our locomotive markets were European countries like Germany, the UK, France. The profile is changing now. Generation Z is becoming a decision-making generation; you need to add technology, sustainability, regional experiences, transportation, and city calendars to what you offer. This new conscious tourist has different preferences. There is significant demand from Russia, as well as flows from Germany, the UK, the USA, and the Middle East. I think we need to capture the tremendous market of China and attract more tourists from Asia-Pacific countries."

Significant cost increases are reflected in prices

Ferman Doğan also mentioned the increase in costs, saying, "Minimum wages, hotel accommodation taxes, food prices, and significant increases in retail and transportation costs are significantly affecting costs. As a sector, we are forced to reflect these costs in our prices in a sensible manner. Consumers can choose to opt for places that offer a more affordable experience instead of paying this amount to stay in Türkiye. Bodrum, Alaçatı, Marmaris, and other holiday destinations are all positioning themselves at the same level; I believe that, like abroad, diversification is needed."