Firuz Bagli Kaya, head of the Federation of Turkish Travel Agencies, said that tourist bookings from abroad for the new year (2022) witnessed a significant increase and that there was an increase in bookings from Latin American countries besides major markets.
He explained that the great interest of foreign tourists in Turkey indicates that the occupancy rates in villages and tourist facilities will be 100 percent.
In an interview, Bagli Kaya talked about the achievements of the tourism sector during the past year (2021) and their expectations for the upcoming 2022 tourism season.
Bagli Kaya reported that the tourism movement in the spring and summer of 2021 began to be active with the high rates of vaccination against Corona, and then witnessed an additional momentum with the start of the application of the “vaccine passport” in the countries of the European Union.
He added that the statistics of entry through the border crossings announced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed an increase in the number of foreign visitors who entered Turkey in the period from January to October 2021 by 88 percent compared to the same period in 2020.
He explained that the number of foreign visitors during the first ten months of 2021 exceeded 21 million, and when adding Turkish visitors residing abroad, the number becomes about 25 million tourists.
He pointed out that the increase in the number of foreign visitors during the month of October alone amounted to 99 percent compared to the same month of 2020.
He continued, “The number of visitors who came to Istanbul in the period from January to October 2021 increased by 68.1 percent, and visitors to Antalya by 168.2 percent compared to the same period in 2020.”
He pointed out that the tourism movement proceeded according to their expectations until the end of last year, and that they expect tourism revenues to reach or exceed $20 billion (after the release of tourism outcome data for 2021) at $20 billion.
Bagli Kaya pointed out that the conditions of closure and quarantine due to the Coronavirus epidemic made people miss gatherings and go on vacations, and that this indicates that Turkey will receive very large numbers of tourists during 2022.
He added that they hope, until the end of 2022, to achieve the records achieved in 2019.
He stressed that the great interest from foreign tourists in Turkey and the increase in early bookings show that the occupancy rate in the tourist towns will be 100 percent during the current year (2022).
He added, “We are very optimistic about the summer of 2022, and there is a significant increase in bookings from abroad, and we also notice an increase in bookings from Latin American countries as well as major markets.”
He stressed that the steps taken by Turkey in the matter of safe tourism have given it a competitive advantage in the tourism markets.
Bagli Kaya noted that there is a great demand for ski centers and cultural tours, in the Black Sea, Cappadocia, and Southern Anatolia region during the winter months of the new year.
He added that they expect the start of tourism activity during the first months of the new year (2022), and they also expect this year to be the best tourist season in the country since 2019.
He continued, “Looking at competing markets such as Spain, Italy and Egypt, we see that Turkey moved more quickly and adapted to the new conditions.”
He pointed out that the information issued by travel agencies shows that there is a great interest from local tourists to book early, and that there is great interest in visiting ski centers and natural places.
Bagli Kaya indicated that since the beginning of November 2021, about 200 local and foreign travel agencies have started organizing trips to the Kartepe Ski Center in the state of Kocaeli in northwestern Turkey.
He said that all hotels across Turkey have applied for a certificate of safe tourism during the epidemic period, after implementing all the required conditions and standards.
He pointed out that the preventive measures that were taken early in Turkey in the tourism sector contributed to improving the sector’s image outside Turkey.