Turkish tourism professionals made a strong participate to the WTM London Fair, where initial indicators for the year 2024 were received. Professionals who evaluated the fair believe that the UK will become a major market for Türkiye as Germany or Russia in the near future. While the outlook is positive and expectations are high in the UK market, the only concern is regional developments that include Türkiye.

Müberra Eresin: There hasn't been any impact on arrivals from Europe yet, but...

Müberra Eresin, President of Türkiye Hoteliers Association  (TÜROB) reported a strong interest in the Türkiye's hall at the fair, stating that the participation exceeded their expectations. Eresin noted, "Interest in Türkiye, and especially Istanbul, continues. I hope peace is achieved worldwide. Everyone has one expectation: let peace be achieved as soon as possible and let's focus on our business. There hasn't been a significant impact on arrivals from Europe to Türkiye yet, but we are seeing some minor fluctuations related to the Middle East. 2024 initially looked like a better year compared to 2023, but we will see how current situations will affect us in the future, whether positively or negatively. But the current outlook is positive for Türkiye, especially for Istanbul."

Erkan Yağcı: The UK needs to reach the 5 million level

Erkan Yağcı, President of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation  (TÜROFED), emphasized the significance of WTM London, the first fair of 2024, for Türkiye. He said, "We see that the UK has become one of Türkiye's main source markets, like Russia and Germany. Tour operators and hoteliers are having serious discussions here. I believe that the UK market should reach the 5 million level soon, and we see signs of that. This market, which has high potential, is extremely important for our future."

Erkan Yağcı mentioned, "The expectations of tour operators and travel agencies are high. The initial sales data we received from the UK market indicates growth." He also explained that demand was somewhat affected by the developments in the region (Israel-Palestine conflict), but he maintains hope that this market will continue to grow in the coming period. Yağcı used the words, "One of the main reasons for me to say that the growth will continue is the high expectations of tour operators and travel agencies here. In this sense, tour operators and hotels are in very close cooperation."

Deniz Varol: The UK market has doubled in Antalya

Deniz Varol, General Manager of Fraport TAV Antalya Airport, stated that Türkiye was strongly represented at WTM London. He said, "Both Türkiye Tourism Development Agency (TGA), Association of Türkiye Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) and Turkish airlines (THY) have a very broad representation here. The UK is an extremely important market for Antalya. In the operation until mid-November 2019, about 750,000 people had come to Antalya. Now it has reached 1.4 million. So, almost twice as much operation has taken place. This is an indicator of how important the UK market is for us. Especially in 2024, the UK market will be much stronger. Our estimates and statistics support this. Especially Jet2, the UK-based airline, will continue to grow after seeing the potential in Antalya. This is very important for our stakeholders who benefit from Antalya tourism."

Mehmet İşler: The UK could be alternative to Russia, and Germany

Mehmet İşler, President of the Aegean Touristic Enterprises and Accommodations Association (ETİK), mentioned that Italy, Greece, Spain, and Türkiye received significant attention at the WTM London Fair, where Türkiye had a strong presence. He said, "The intense participation from Türkiye indicates the importance given to the UK market. The UK has now become a market that has matured for Türkiye and could be an alternative to markets like Russia and Germany. As of this year, it is planned to reach around 2.5 million visitors from the UK market, but it is seen that this figure will reach 3.5-4 million in the coming years."

"In 2024, we expect a 20% increase in the UK"

Mehmet İşler pointed out that Türkiye's expectations for the UK market in 2024 are higher. He emphasized the following points:

"There is a very serious demand from the UK. One of the most important reasons for this is the increase in Türkiye flights by Jet2 Holidays and other tour operators. The depreciation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies is also a significant factor in increasing demand. However, in the past, we used to offer our rooms at more affordable prices, but recently, Turkish tourism has started to increase its prices. Türkiye's image as a 'cheap country' is also starting to change. In 2024, there will be a strong UK market, and it will continue to be a dominant player in the Aegean. Especially, we see a significant demand for Izmir at the moment. It is very gratifying for us that Izmir is entering the game as a player. There is a positive perception in our discussions. If everything continues as it is, we expect a 20% increase in the UK market in 2024."

Editor: Savaş Daş