Rising number of foreign visitors boost retail spending in first half

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 22.07.2019 00:02

The mobility in the tourism sector reflects positively on the retail sector, with shopping with foreign credit cards in the first half of the year doubling compared to the same period last year, reaching TL 31.6 billion, according to the Turkish daily Milliyet.

The increase in both the number of tourists and the purchases they make has led tourism facilities to call on brands to "come and open stores in our facility" and the ready-to-wear sector to bring changes in their collections according to the tastes of tourists.

Foreign tourists shop extensively from ready-to-wear and accessory stores in tourism resorts. The representatives of the sector say that they determine ready-to-wear clothing collections in line with the sense of foreign tourists coming to the region, adding that Arab and Russian tourists for instance prefer different products. Furthermore, high-end tourists buy more goods.

Sinan Öncel, head of the United Brands Association (BMD), expects that foreign tourists will contribute more than 50 percent to the retail industry this year compared to last year due to the exchange rate advantage, underlining that foreign tourists' spending is of great importance for the retail sector. According to Öncel, a significant portion of turnover in stores in touristic areas is generated from foreigners.

Indicating that hotels request corners from some brands in line with tourist tastes, Öncel said that this must be assessed well.

Underlining that Arab and Russian tourists buy ready-to-wear clothes and accessorize the most, Öncel continued, "We anticipate that purchases by tourists will reflect well on the retail sector this year. However, we want domestic spending to increase as well. We seek to get rid of continuous shrinkage in the retail sector. The moment tourists are gone, trouble is mounting for the retail sector."

Since tourists pay for their purchases mostly by credit card, their expenditures can be well monitored from the data of the Interbank Card Center (BKM). This data shows that the shopping by tourists in Turkey has increased year-on-year and this increase has accelerated recently in particular.

Shopping with foreign credit cards soared by 76 percent in 2018 from 2017, reaching TL 26.3 billion. Moreover, spending with foreign credit cards in the first quarter this year almost doubled the same period last year, from TL 3.55 billion to TL 6.58 billion.

Interbank Card Center General Manager Soner Canko stated that TL 31.6 billion was paid with foreign credit cards in the country in the first half of the year, up by 100 percent compared to the same period last year with TL 15.8 billion, the highest increased achieved in recent years. Also, card payment per transaction amount increased from TL 573 to TL 741.

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