The interest of German tourists in Turkey's top holiday destinations continues as many turned to Antalya for early bookings, making it the leader in German package tours last month. Spain and Greece, in comparison, experienced a noteworthy decline in demand.
The Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB) in a recent statement evaluated the data disclosed by German booking supplier, Traveltainment. It said that German tourists preferred Turkey and Egypt in their reservations, while demand for Spain and Greece continues to decline. Double-digit declines were observed in Spain's holiday spots, while Palma reservations dropped by 33 percent in October and 29 percent in November.
Bookings for the Canary Islands also saw a double-digit decline in November following a similar drop in October. Sales to Fuerteventura, one of the prominent spots in the region, shrank by 22 percent, followed by Las Palas with a decrease of 24 percent, Tenerife with 25 percent and Arrecife with 17 percent.
Greece also experienced one of the most noteworthy declines in German bookings. The number of arrivals at Heraklion Airport dropped by 13 percent in September, 17 percent in October and 30 percent in November. Arrivals on Rhodes Island, which had maintained an uneven performance in the past couple of months, declined by 17 percent in November.
Compared to the decline in Greek and Spanish destinations, Turkey's tourism hub Antalya recorded a serious increase in this regard. Following an increase of 39 percent in bookings from Germany in October, Antalya saw an increase of 54 percent in November. With this figure, Antalya took the lead in German package tours last month.
After exceeding 10 million visitors in 2017, Antalya intends to attract 14 million visitors this year. The city had already reached its highest number of tourists ever by the middle of October this year, exceeding 12 million.
Between January and November 12.5 million foreign visitors arrived in Turkey's holiday resort by air, recording an increase of 30 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Antalya Airport authorities.
In terms of the nationalities arriving during the January-November period of this year, Russia and Germany topped the list with 4.6 million and 2.2 million passengers, respectively.
Meanwhile, Egypt was also in high demand among German holidaymakers. With a share of 19 percent, Hurghada came second in package tour sales. In this period, sales to Marsa Alam, another resort destination in Egypt, surged by 36 percent. Having closed 2017, which stood out as a year of recovery following a difficult period in 2016, with 32.4 million foreign visitors and $26.3 billion in tourism income with an increase of 28 percent and 19 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year, Turkey's tourism industry experienced its "golden period" this year. Turkey hosted more than 41 million visitors, including Turkish citizens residing abroad. In the first 10 months, the number exceeded the 40 million threshold, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry data.
In terms of foreign visitors alone, in 10 months, 35.6 million tourists arrived with an increase of 22.43 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.
In the ranking of countries with the highest number of visitors, Russia took the lead with an increase of 16.09 percent, followed by Germany with 11.68 percent and Britain with an increase of 6.07 percent.