In an interview with the German business and tourism magazine fvw, Hoteliers Federation of Türkiye (TÜROFED), Erkan Yağcı, discussed the current topics in the industry and evaluated the the German travel market.

Is Türkiye's Bodrum an expensive destination? Is Türkiye's Bodrum an expensive destination?

"New reference will be 2023"

Referring to the earthquake disaster in February 2023, which negatively affected reservations for three months, Yağcı mentioned that a strong recovery was achieved from June onwards. He noted that Türkiye closed the year 2023 with a 10 percent increase in visitors, and despite price increases, tourism revenue showed a stronger rise. Yağcı mentioned that they used to consider 2019 as their reference for the best year of tourism, but now they will consider 2023 as the benchmark.

"Reservations from Russia rose in the second half of the year"

Regarding the question of whether Germany will continue to be Türkiye's number one destination, Yağcı responded positively, highlighting that Germany is their strongest market, followed by Russia. Despite the depreciation of the ruble and issues with flight capacities, he observed an increase in reservations from Russia in the second half of the year. He also mentioned the rapid growth of the UK market.

Türkiye has good price-performance balance

Acknowledging the cost increases leading hotels in Türkiye to raise prices, Yağcı emphasized that this situation is not unique to Türkiye, and other destinations in a same situation as well. He stated that despite everything, Türkiye's price-performance balance is above the international average.

"We always desired to distance from 'cheap holiday country' perception"

Responding to the question about moving away from the image of a 'cheap holiday destination,' Yağcı emphasized the quality of their hotels and products, expressing the desire to distance themselves from the 'cheap holiday country' perception. He believes that they have reached a level that guarantees quality and allows hoteliers to achieve a certain profit margin, and this level will be their new normal in the coming years.

"Turkish tourism industry is adapting rapidly to new conditions"

Yağcı pointed out that in 2023, upper-segment hotels in Bodrum and Antalya faced occupancy issues, especially due to the decrease in the number of wealthy tourists from Russia. He mentioned a decrease in the number of Arab tourists coming to Istanbul and other regions since the start of the conflict in Gaza. Despite various crises, the Turkish tourism sector is adapting rapidly to new conditions.

 "Successful 2022 season encouraged hoteliers for investments"

Regarding the opening of new hotels in Antalya in 2023 and the possibility of this trend continuing, Yağcı explained that during the pandemic, investment appetite decreased, and ongoing investments were completed after the pandemic. The successful 2022 season encouraged hoteliers in terms of investment. He emphasized that if Türkiye wants to continue growing in tourism, it needs to create additional hotel capacities, and if demand exceeds supply, it will result in additional price increases.

Editor: Savaş Daş