While Turkish citizens head to the resort towns taking advantage of the three-day holiday, Middle Eastern tourists are in Istanbul to celebrate Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr).
The occupancy rate reached 70 percent during the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting. Some 80 percent of this figure consisted of Arab tourists, hoteliers said.
The country's top hoteliers said after a stagnant month of Ramadan, mobility finally started during the ensuing "bayram" holiday.
"We stood at an average of 60 percent in occupancy during Ramadan. This rate is now around 70 percent," Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) Chairman Timur Bayındır said. "The Middle Eastern tourists provide 80 percent of the occupancy. While the domestic tourists spend the holiday on the beach or abroad, Middle Eastern tourists came to Istanbul to celebrate bayram."
"Most tourists from the Middle East come from Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait, Algeria, Jordan and Lebanon," he said. Stating that the number of tourists coming from the Middle East has gained momentum in the last two years, Bayındır said in 2017, the number of tourists from the region increased by 44 percent to 3.6 million, while in the first quarter of this year, their number soared by 45 percent.
Ahmet Arslan, the general manager of Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn, said that their occupancy rate approached 70 percent during the holiday.
"Middle Eastern tourists provide 50 percent of the occupancy," Arslan said, highlighting that arriving tourists stay nine to 10 days on average, spending 30 percent above the average.
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