One of Turkey's hot spots, the town of Marmaris in the western province of Muğla, is widely known as a favorite holiday destination among British tourists.
What's more, the town has also become a second home to many foreigners, particularly tourists from the U.K., who settled in the district in recent years after experiencing its touristic attractions.
Now, early bookings by British tourists, who choose Marmaris as their holiday destination, have seen a 35 percent increase for 2019.
Bülent Bülbüloğlu, chairman of the South Aegean Tourist Hoteliers and Operators Association (GETOB), noted that the year 2018 has been very successful, emphasizing that the rise in bookings is likely to continue into 2019.
Bülbüloğlu informed that they attended a tourism fair held in London. He said it proved to be good and had pleasing results, adding that there is a 35 percent increase in the British market.
In 2015, 2.5 million tourists came to Turkey from Britain, while the figure stood at 1.7 million in 2016 and 1.6 million last year.
Britain's ambassador to Ankara, Dominick Chilcott, earlier estimated that the number of British tourists to Turkey was expected to be around 3 million this year.
Turkey hosted more than 41 million visitors, including Turkish citizens residing abroad, in the first 10 months, exceeding the 40 million threshold this year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
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.
Russian tourists topped the list with 5.7 million visitors, recording a 16.09 percent increase compared to the same period of last year. The second country from where Turkey has attracted the highest number of tourists in 10 months has been Germany with 4.1 million visitors, an increase of 11.68 percent year-on-year, followed by the U.K. with 2.1 million tourists, a 6.07 percent rise year-on-year.
Praising the developments in other markets as well, Bülbüloğlu was cited by Anadolu Agency (AA) as saying, "Even though the crisis in the last few years has taken a lot from us, it has nevertheless brought a lot. The crisis has taught us that we need to find alternative markets and create alternative tourism. We should not be dependent on the British market and have to expand other markets as well. We will see the benefits from 2019 onward." According to Bülbüloğlu, even the Scandinavian countries, which never held any flights to Marmaris, have started to launch flights to the region for 2019, for which he said is a preparation for 2020.
Explaining that Marmaris is a very good destination where tourists can enjoy a very affordable holiday, Bülbüloğlu said, "We must prepare for digital advertising. Global tourism is significantly growing, with an annual growth of up to 7 percent. We are in a good place with its nature, culture and civilization."
According to Bülbüloğlu, with the rise in the British market, apart hotels, if they are qualified, will return to the good old days. He emphasized that tourists from other European countries demand qualified apart hotels.
He noted that hotel occupancy rates are pretty good but that prices should be integrated with the world, warning that tourism professionals must be careful about the contracts they make for 2020.
On the other hand, the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Marmaris chairman of the Regional Representation Board, Suat Esin, expressed that dynamism and interest in the British market is delighting tourism professionals.
Touching on the importance of the rise in the British market for Marmaris, Esin said, "There has been a 35 percent increase in the British market. Considering the U.K. as the flagship market for the Marmaris destination, this is a very good development. Thanks to the increase in the British market, apart hotels in our district will return to their old days. 1 + 1 apartment hotel rooms will be favorites again." Esin stated that due to the increase in the British market, hotels allocate a small number of rooms for local tourists, adding, "There is an increase in other markets in addition to the U.K. In this case, the quotas allocated by hotels to local tourists will also be filled. Local tourists should book hotels in advance. Otherwise it is impossible for them to find a room in hotels according to the current picture."