Despite the effects of earthquakes and the Russia-Ukraine war, the tourism sector managed to finish the year in line with its goals, with the second half of the season being able to open. While the upper-segment hotels contracted, economic hotels experienced an increase.

Zafer Alkaya stated that the number of tourists in 2023 was good, but tourists showed more interest in hotels operating in the economic segments. He mentioned that especially in holiday destinations like Belek, which is known for golf, the expected occupancy rates were not achieved.

Speaking about the situation, Alkaya said, "Tourists are coming, but they are not interested in upper-segment products. Tourism is a whole. To achieve the ideal tourism income, each segment needs to fulfill its function." He mentioned that revenues have increased, but the occupancy rate in luxury hotels, which was on average 60%, dropped to the 50s.

Alkaya mentioned that there was a challenging period until August, but afterward, the sector recovered. He summarized the situation with the statement, "There was no occupancy problem in Alanya, Side, and Kemer. The reason is the presence of high-quality products and upper-segment villas in Belek. There was no obvious problem in the region in the past. It surprised us; it was an unexpected situation."

Alkaya pointed out that the Russia-Ukraine war affected the sector, and Ukraine was almost lost. He said, "Our target was 7-8 million Russian tourists, but it decreased to 5-6 million. We are not achieving the momentum we expected due to the depreciation of the ruble. There is also the impact of the earthquake. The earthquake created an unexpected trauma both for us and the countries from which we receive tourists."

It was stated that the majority of tourists who came to Türkiye this year did not show interest in upper-segment products. Alkaya highlighted that this year local tourists stood out in Belek, and growth is expected again in 2024. He emphasized that Belek is an important region with 16 golf courses, competing with Portugal with 180 courses and Spain with 400 courses. Alkaya noted that Türkiye has more reasonable prices compared to competitors like Spain and mentioned that these regions attract tourists who prefer the upper segment. He also stated that as long as inflation continues, there will be price increases, saying, "If costs are not reflected, businesses cannot survive."

Editor: Mehmet Güneli