Türkiye, a tourist hotspot, attracts the main European markets en masse

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ANKARA

Shaking off the fallout from the coronavirus even as many other countries grapple with air travel problems, Turkey continues to be an attractive destination for international tourists this summer, mainly from major European source markets, senior officials said. tourism officials at Anadolu Agency.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), stressed that the restart and recovery of tourism is on track.

“Turkey was among the destinations to see a marked increase in international arrivals during the peak summer season,” thanks to pent-up travel demand released with the lifting or easing of travel restrictions, he said.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey attracted more than 23 million foreign visitors in the first seven months of the year, an annual increase of more than 128%.

Turkey has done its homework

He also stressed that Turkey is “well placed” to welcome visitors back as it has supported its tourism sector throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Praising Türkiye’s investments in tourism infrastructure and manpower, Pololikashvili said: “Coupled with the country’s rich history and its many attractions, including coastal destinations, Türkiye is an attractive option for tourists. , particularly from the main European source markets.

Citing the latest figures, he said international tourism had seen a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with arrivals reaching almost half (46%) of the levels of the same period of 2019.

Arrivals more than tripled (up 221%) in January-May from a year ago, but remained 54% below 2019 levels.

By region, Europe and the Americas continued to lead the recovery where most travel restrictions were lifted, but arrivals there remained 36% and 40% respectively below 2019 levels.

“Strong tourist demand during the Northern Hemisphere summer season should consolidate these positive results, particularly as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions,” he said.

But Pololikashvili pointed out that lingering geopolitical insecurity – the Russian-Ukrainian war – along with rising interest rates in most countries and pressure on consumers could hurt tourism growth for the rest of this year. .

“Rising economic and geopolitical challenges continue to pose a risk to the recovery,” he added.

Pololikashvili pointed out that, as Ukraine and Russia together accounted for 3% of all global tourism spending in 2020, the World Tourism Organization projects that a long and protracted conflict could lead to a loss of $14 billion in revenue. tourist.

Türkiye’s travel and tourism sector ‘equally positive’

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), told Anadolu Agency that the outlook for world travel and tourism is promising, with strong growth figures.

Travel and tourism is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by next year, Simpson said, adding that the sector is expected to reach nearly $8.4 trillion by the end of this year, slightly behind 2019 levels.

“Travel is going to be one of the engines of the global recovery, creating almost 126 million jobs over the next decade. In fact, one in three new jobs will be created in our industry,” she said. declared.

Simpson pointed out that the travel and tourism sector of Türkiye, “an incredibly popular destination”, is “equally positive”.

Turkey’s travel and tourism gross domestic product is expected to grow twice as fast as the national economy over the next decade and will reach near pre-pandemic levels by next year, it said. she pointed out.

“It is no surprise that Turkey has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with its breathtaking natural beauty, historical and archaeological sites, ever-improving hotel and tourist infrastructure, and a tradition of hospitality and competitive pricing,” she said.

Simpson highlighted the role of Istanbul’s new airport in improving connectivity between Turkey and major international markets, saying it will help attract more visitors.

Citing figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, Simpson said the country’s travel and tourism sector had seen a massive jump in its recovery, contributing more than 526 billion Turkish liras ($59.2 billion). ) to the national economy in 2021, when the US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate averaged 8.88.

“It’s bouncing back in earnest, with spending by international visitors jumping 104% last year over the previous year, to just over 249 billion Turkish liras ($13.7 billion). Kudos to Turkey “, she said.

Addressing the Russian-Ukrainian war, Simpson said outbound travel from Russia and Ukraine accounted for 5.4% of global international travel in 2019, with Russia being the largest source market.

“Eastern European destinations will fare worse than other regions due to a greater reliance on travel from both countries,” she said.

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