The Iranian market is expected to boost the Turkish tourism sector this year. Having hosted more than 2.5 million Iranian tourists in 2017, tourism professionals think Iranian tourists, who are unable to go to U.S. and EU markets due to sanctions, will go to Turkey.
Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) Chairman Timur Bayındır said Iranians, who spend 35-40 percent more than Western tourists, prefer Turkey. Sharing information about occupancy rates in the accommodation sector in April, Bayındır said the sector reached the highest figures in two years.
"Turkey increased the hotel occupancy rate by 19.7 percent to 72.6 percent in April 2018," Bayındır noted, adding that Istanbul reached an occupancy rate of 79.5 percent, an increase of 23.6 percent, while Antalya's rate rose by 16.7 percent to 65.7 percent. Bayındır stressed that Turkey reached the highest growth rate among European countries.
Cem Polatoğlu, the spokesman for the Tour Operators Platform, on the other hand, said that they expect some 600,000-700,000 reservations for Ramadan via tour companies, highlighting that 2.5 to 3 million people will travel in this period.