Baltic market declines, Russia emerges

Ethem Okudur, owner of Akay Travel and FIT Holidays, stated that they work with numerous markets and highlighted that early booking sales surpassed 2023 levels both in Europe and Russia. He also noted a similar trend in the Kazakhstan market, stating, "Currently, the market where we lag behind the most is the Baltic countries. We made significant progress, especially in Romania."

Okudur provided insights into the decline in the Baltic states, attributing it to the increasing number of players rather than market decline, stating, "The decline there is due more to the increase in the number of players than to the decline of the market itself. The market share, which was previously divided into three, has now begun to be divided into four."

Regarding the increase in early bookings in Russia, Okudur attributed it to people wanting to take advantage of the price advantages offered by top-tier 5-star hotels. He shared the following information about Akay Travel's 2024 plans:

"Romania is our strategic market"

Romania is a strategic market for us where we plan to grow. We have increased the number of operators we work with there. In order to compete with Turkish and global tour operators existing in the market, we brought together five tour operators of Romanian origin and reached the total number of passengers we served last year in February of this year. Our goal there is to serve nearly 60,000 guests, which is almost 20 percent of the market.

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"Our target is 60,000 passengers in Kazakhstan"

We are successful in Kazakhstan too. We have a difference in Kazakhstan compared to last year, we will operate flights to Türkiye from an airport called Kyzylorda for the first time. In previous years, we did not have business seats, but this year we have 16 business seats on every flight from Astana and Almaty. We started marketing these seats with a concept with top-tier hotels and will sell some packages including business class. Our goal this year is to serve 60,000 passengers in Kazakhstan.

"We partnered with Love Holidays in the UK"

In addition, our new market is the UK. By signing an agreement with Love Holidays, with whom we have been in talks for about 4 months, we made a stronger entry into the UK market. Love Holidays is the third biggest tour operator of the UK, after Jet2 and TUI. Since the agreement was reached towards the end of the early booking period, we will only be able to sell the remaining seats this season. The main operation will start from 2025 onwards.

Editor: Haber Merkezi