While recovery continues in the tourism sector worldwide following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Türkiye has once again been one of the top choices for many foreigners, including Germans.
Norbert Fiebig, head of the German Travel Agencies Association (DRV), recently spoke at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) Fair in Berlin, where he expressed his optimism for the recovery of the tourism sector following the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We received strong reservations in December, January and February. The good news for our Turkish partners and friends is that Türkiye is at the top," Fiebig stated.
Fiebig went on to emphasize the importance of face-to-face participation at the ITB fair, noting that it was the first time in three years that such an event had taken place since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the industry is recovering and the booking situation is currently very positive. Last year we already had a very good summer season, we almost reached the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level. And indeed this will continue. We received strong bookings in December, January and February,” he said.
Fiebig explained that the Germans wanted to go on vacations after the "sad" period of the pandemic and that they made reservations by re-imagining old traditional destinations such as Türkiye.
According to Fiebig, high inflation and energy costs are having an impact on the holiday decisions of Germans, who are becoming more price sensitive.
"We see that destinations with excellent prices and quality are very popular. German customers are particularly interested in all-inclusive offers as they provide budgetary assurance," Fiebig noted.
“Türkiye is one of the most successful destinations for German tourists, and demand for all-inclusive packages is particularly high. We are actively working to encourage more Germans to travel to Türkiye and maintain the strong relationship between our two countries," Fiebig said.
Fiebig emphasized the importance of the partnership between Germany and Türkiye in the tourism sector, noting that the DRV is committed to promoting tourism and ensuring the safety and satisfaction of German travelers.
Marking a complete rebound from a pandemic fallout, foreign arrivals in Türkiye neared record and all-time high revenues in 2022 and prompted the government to raise its tourism estimates for this year.
Tourism revenues jumped 53.4% to a record $46.3 billion last year, blowing past the previous high of $38.4 billion in 2019 before the pandemic hit. The figure stood at $30.2 billion in 2021 after the outbreak, while it was just $14.8 billion in 2020.
The number of foreign visitors arriving in January jumped 56.51% from a year earlier to 2 million, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said in February.
The arrivals compared with 1.28 million foreign visitors in January 2022; 509,787 in January 2021; and the record 1.8 million in 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic in the country.
Visitors from Russia, Bulgaria and Germany, with a combined tally of 587,000 people, topped the list of foreigners who visited Türkiye in January, according to the data.
Russians led the way with over 279,818 arrivals, double compared to a year ago. Bulgaria followed with 167,138 visitors (up 52% year over year), Germany with 139,955 (up 36.4%), and Georgia with 114,508 (up 190.4%).
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has said foreign arrivals are expected to reach 60 million in 2023, before hitting 90 million in 2028. For the income, the government sees it rising to $56 billion this year and $100 billion five years from now.
COVID-19 restrictions all but dissipated in 2022 and Russians came in droves partly due to flight restrictions imposed by Western nations over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Russians are also estimated to have moved last year to Türkiye, seen as a safe haven for investment in homes and other assets.
Arrivals were also backed by a surging demand from European countries, spearheaded by Germany and the United Kingdom.