Turkish Airlines, Royal Caribbean International cooperation boosts cruise tours
by Betül Alakent
ISTANBULAug 22, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Betül Alakent
Aug 22, 2015 12:00 am
U.S.-based Royal Caribbean International (RCI), which launched special cruise tours to the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations after Sept. 25, is attracting great interest.
The company, which provides a 10-day and nine-night Bahamas and Caribbean holiday package including economy class flight tickets to Miami for TL 4,500 ($1,540), has received 780 reservations in three weeks. RCI Communications and Marketing Director for Turkey Cihangir Canıyılmaz, said that Royal Caribbean previously made a collaboration exclusively with THY for the flights to and from Turkey, and now THY and RCI have taken another step for global cooperation.
THY arranged its flights to Miami as economy and business classes, but it started to sell comfort class upon intense demand, which increased sales by 30 percent, Canıyılmaz said. People can fly in comfort class paying a 500 euro difference.
"We aim to sell to 7,000 people by the end of 2016. We sold to 780 people in three weeks. Within this process, 18 leading Turkish companies made a request to hold a dealers meeting in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. These figures showed us that we can go beyond our targets easily. So many Turkish people are going to the Caribbean for the first time in history," Canıyılmaz said.
THY's direct flights to Miami, the cooperation between THY and RCI and being able to buy a cruise tour at the same price as a vacation in Bodrum, resulted in a boom in demand. THY direct flights have made a contribution to at least 50 percent of sales, Canıyılmaz said.
He added that RCI headquarters reacted positively to the cooperation between THY and RCI, and that THY wants to play more actively in this sector with the momentum gained from cruise tours. Canıyılmaz said: "This situation brings new projects to the table. In the upcoming process we can fly a Chinese guest to Miami or an Emirati to Italy via THY. In other words, RCI can work with THY for all of its flights. Both companies have taken new steps to develop new global projects and negotiations are continuing."
RCI Turkey General Manager Bülent Tatlav said that this cooperation with THY would increase the number of cruise ships in Turkish ports. "Turkey's share received from global cruise tourism is very low. The biggest reason for this is the lack of cruise ship ports in our country. However, people started to get to know about cruises and the interest of Turkish customers started to grow in the cruises thanks to THY flights. This figure will increase more and will attract the attention of cruise companies. I believe that Turkey will gain considerable momentum when the construction of cruise ship ports is completed because the sector is growing nearly 30 percent each year," stated Tatlav.