Western Turkey's Kuşadası has hosted 37 of the 48 cruise ships that berthed at seven ports in Turkey in the first five months of the year. According to the Directorate General of Merchant Marine, a total of 48 cruise ships anchored in seven ports in Turkey in the January-May period this year, while the number of arriving passengers from these ships reached 5,765, with 7,146 departing passengers and 29,035 transit passengers. Around 77 percent of the cruise ships came to Kuşadası. While 37 ships dropped anchor in the city, three arrived in Antalya, three in Marmaris and two in Bodrum. In this period, one cruise ship docked at Dikili, Fethiye and Mersin ports each.
The representatives of the industry have recently said they expect a 30 percent growth this year. The world's leading cruise companies have recently announced that they have included Turkey in their programs for this season. Antalya was the busiest port in terms of arriving passengers, while Kuşadası led the way in the number of transit passengers. In the January-May period, 3,283 passengers came to the Antalya Port, with 3,403 departing passengers and 970 transit passengers. In the same period, 2,482 passengers came to Kusadaşı Port, while 4,011 passengers departed. Some 22,912 passengers also used the Kuşadası Port for transit.
Meanwhile, there was no cruise ship traffic in January and February with 13 ships dropping anchor in March, 8 in April, and 27 in May. In March, a total of 894 passengers arrived, with a total of 1,161 departing passengers and 2,203 transit passengers, while 3,294 passengers came in April, 3,790 passengers departed, and 8,952 people used the Turkish ports for transit. In May, on the other hand, the number of arriving passengers stood at 1,577 with 2,465 departing passengers and 17,880 transit passengers.
The market of traveling on luxury ships is continuously growing. About 300 luxury ships around the world carry about 23 million passengers a year. These cruise passengers spend nearly $42 billion a year. The biggest destinations in the sector are the port cities of the Mediterranean countries, with the Caribbean taking the lead. The rapid growth of China and Australia in recent years has attracted attention. At present, there are 20 cruise ships being built in shipyards around the world. The number of cruise passengers is expected to rise to 27 million this year. The daily spending of a cruise passenger coming to Turkey starts from $70 and goes up to $300. However, the number of cruise passengers arriving in Turkey has dramatically declined over the past four years. Turkey received a share of 10 percent in cruise tourism in 2013 with 2.2 million tourists. This figure fell to 628,000 in 2016 and to 306,000 in 2017. Moreover, the number of cruise ships coming to Turkish ports plummeted to 590 in 2016 and to 311 in 2017 from 1,542 in 2013.