50 percent growth in the German market

Murat Kızılsaç stated that the season in Germany was favorable and profitable, mentioning an increase in capacity. Kızılsaç stated, "We experienced about a 50 percent growth in the number of passengers in Germany. Therefore, our revenue increased, and spending of per customer increased of about 10-15 percent. We had a very good season in Germany."

"We brought 700 thousand German tourists to Türkiye"

Regarding the number of passengers ANEX Group reached in European markets, Murat Kızılsaç provided information, saying, "We had plans to start flights and expand with our own airline, MGA. However, we faced the same issues as other airlines, and delivery of our next two planes were delayed. Consequently, we reduced capacity and there was not as much capacity increase as we decreased in other airlines. Therefore, our numbers essentially stayed around the target figure of 700 thousand that I aimed for. This is the number of guests we brought to Türkiye. We achieved almost 65-70 percent more than last year, which is a very good number."

"ANEX Group brought 20 out of every 100 German tourists"

Highlighting the growth of all brands, especially the revived Neckermann, Murat Kızılsaç said, "Last year was the year Neckermann came back into play. Starting the engine, warming up, all of that was settled last year. Neckermann achieved much higher growth than we expected. The increase in Neckermann is, of course, much higher than the others (Öger Tours, ANEX Tour, Bucher Reisen). Our goal was for Neckermann to have a 20 percent share within the group, and we achieved that. Not only Neckermann but also the overall market share of ANEX Group increased. We raised ANEX Group's share in the German market for Türkiye destinations from 14 percent in 2022 to 20 percent this year. We brought 20 out of every 100 Germans vacationing in Antalya and the Aegean with four brands."

"ANEX Tour has become a well-known and trusted brand"

Murat Kızılsaç reported that ANEX Tour has become a known, believed, and trusted brand in the professional aspect of the business in Europe, alongside Öger Tours, Neckermann, and Bucher Reisen. He stated that this trend would continue in 2024, emphasizing the current sales compared to last year: "January is important in reservations. When agencies sell ANEX products, they don't ask unnecessary questions anymore. Before, they had question marks in their minds. We were trying to overcome the problems we faced during the establishment phase when the pandemic started, and that's why they were afraid of us, especially during the pandemic. Because we managed the pandemic well and came through it in a healthy way, that trust quickly took its place. This year, we reaped the rewards."

"We prioritize travel agencies the most"

Murat Kızılsaç answered the question about relationship of ANEX Group with travel agencies in the German tourism market, saying, "We are the tour operator that values travel agencies the most in the German tourism market, where classic agencies still hold a significant place. That's how we can make sales. While other operators try to sell directly to customers through their own sales channels, online companies are taking 60 percent of reservations if you look at the market. The average share of travel agencies in sales is 40 percent, but our share is more than this."

"We entered Poland with MGA, and increased our number of passengers sixfold"

Providing information about the company's activities in the rapidly developing markets of the UK and Poland in recent years, Kızılsaç emphasized the following points:

"In Poland, where we operate with Orex Travel (Next year there will be ANEX Tour too), our number of passengers increased sixfold from 2022 to 2023. We entered Poland, where we used to fly with charters from other airlines in previous years, with MGA's own planes. Our numbers rapidly increased with the introduction of our own planes. We increased the number of destinations we flew from Poland, expanded our office, and will open direct sales shops in 2024. There is growth in the Polish market, and I think it will continue at the same level in 2024. Our capacity there reached 200 thousand and it will not go below this in 2024. 70 percent of this number was Türkiye's visitor."

"Preparation process took a bit longer in the UK"

In the UK, the preparations took a bit longer. Neckermann and ANEX brands are active in the UK market. Currently, the technical aspect, what we call B2C, is ready. In the UK, we plan to gradually progress by increasing the number of packages in 2024.

"German tourists have become more price-centric"

So, what does the picture for 2024 look like in European tourism markets? Murat Kızılsaç makes the following evaluation for the 2024 season:

"In 2024, there will generally be no increase in capacities in Europe. We will experience a season similar to the 2023 season, more or less.

On the other hand, due to the ongoing inflationary environment in Europe, which I do not expect to be resolved in the next few years, Europeans have started to become a bit more price-centric. The era when Europeans, especially Germans, said 'let it be 20-30 euros more, but let it be what I want.' is over. In fact, we have heard that some families are starting to go on vacation alone, leaving their children to relatives. Winter operations weakened. People are no longer going on vacation twice a year but will probably go on a slightly longer single vacation. That is, I think the duration will increase. Especially in early booking sales, this will happen. However, for last-minute sales, they will still go on 7-day vacations. The current sales level is not below last year, but to speak more precisely, we need to wait for January.

"Europeans are waiting for the gas and electricity bills they will pay in January"

This is because Europeans make annual payments for expenses such as gas and electricity in January. After these payments are made, people start to calculate their holiday budget. Therefore, early booking sales intensify in January and then decline. Last year, we attributed the drop in reservations in February to the earthquake, but I don't think it was an earthquake. People rushed to make reservations saying 'let me get the cheapest price,' and then sales dropped. Türkiye was not the only country with decreased sales in February last year; Spain and Greece also experienced declines.

"I don't know if customers will tolerate new price increases"

Last year, the high price increases made by hoteliers created psychological pressure on people. In 2024, people will get used to these prices, but I don't know if they will tolerate an additional increase. Although not as much as last year, I hear about increases in some hotels. There is a 10-15 percent increase in some hotels, while others have none. Hotels that couldn't sell at last year's contract prices did not increase their prices. Looking ahead to the 2024 season, I don't see the market moving in a uniform direction.

Editor: Savaş Daş