Taking into account positive early booking figures from abroad, tourism professionals expect 2018 to be a year in which both losses can be compensated and high figures can be reached. In particular, industry representatives emphasized that Turkish tourism will recoup 2014 levels, which saw 36 million foreign visitors, setting new goals for the government's 2023 vision.
Turkey Hotel Federation (TÜROFED) Chairman Osman Ayık explained that 2017 has been a good year in terms of tourism in the direction of their expectations. "We think that the numbers will be around 32 to 33 million tourists by the end of the year. This is a rate that will meet our expectations," he said.
In reference to the next year, Ayık said they have higher expectations for 2018 as tourism professionals and that they are pleased with the early booking figures from abroad. "If it continues in this way, it will be a very positive year during which we will recover our losses and reach the numbers we want." He said that their main goal in 2018 should be to reach 2014 figures of around 36 million tourists.
Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) Chairman Timur Bayındır explained that the tourism industry has experienced serious problems in recent years, but that it has seen a rising trend, especially since the second half of 2017. "I hope this will continue in 2018. We have reduced prices to rock bottom levels to see a rise in tourism," Bayındır said. "Next year we have to focus on increasing the quality and satisfaction of customers as well as the recovery of these losses."
Cem Polatoğlu, the spokesman for the Tour Operators Platform explained that they could not reach the desired number of tourists coming to Turkey from abroad in the past two years. "The demand from abroad for 2018 is quite high. We see high demand in international bookings, particularly from Europe. We anticipate that hotels will not be as empty this year," he said. Polatoğlu said this year has not been what they hoped for. Noting that fortunately there have not been any terrorist attacks this year, but they are still concerned about bookings. Polatoğlu said they are now hopeful for the next year with the increase in bookings for 2018.
"We are hopeful in terms of both domestic and foreign tourists for next year. As Turkish tourism professionals, we are doing our job as best as we can," Polatoğlu said. He added that Turkish tourism professionals are the best in the world and that Turkey has the best hotels in terms of services along with the newest planes and renowned guides. "We will increase Turkey's 2023 target of $50 billion in tourism revenue to $70-80 billion as long as there is not an intervention from the outside," he said.