Having achieved all-time high figures for tourism in 2018, Turkey's so-called tourism capital Antalya has started this year with a year-on-year rise of 70 percent, initial data showed. With the invigoration of tourism in the months of January-April and November-December, defined as the "dead season" in the sector, it is expected that the number of tourists in the city will exceed 15 million and prices will grow by nearly 15 percent.
According to the Antalya Airport Administrative Authority data, a record rise of 70 percent was achieved in a 13-day period in January compared to the same period last year. The record, broken in one of the seasons with the poorest performance in tourism, was welcomed by the industry.
From Jan. 1 to Jan. 13, 2019, a total of 75,396 tourists arrived in the city via Antalya Airport. The 13-day data revealed that the number of tourists exceeded 10,000 on a daily basis for the first time, with 10,249 people landing at the airport on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The number of tourists coming to the city in the months of January was 108,000 in 2013, 113,000 in 2014, 115,000 in 2015 and 95,000 in 2018. This figure is expected to be 150,000 this year.
Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık welcomed the initial data, saying that the figures are indicative of a good trend. Recalling that Antalya closed 2018 with a 30 percent rise, Ayık stated, "Here, figures at the beginning and end of the season have come to be important to us. The reason is that we are already getting maximum figures from May to October. Therefore, the figures we will take in the January-April and November-December period are becoming very important. The increase in the total number of tourists in Antalya and in the number of tourists in January as part of the spread of tourism over 12 months makes us happy. We will start to see the figures that will please us in preliminary seasons."
Emphasizing that the six-month period known as the off-season, covering the months of January-April and November-December, has become important, Ayık said: "As we increase the figures in these months, we will ensure that Antalya will become a tourism destination throughout the year and that the sector is more stable and sustainable for [all] 12 months. Of course, the figures are still not at the levels we desire, and we have a long way to go. They should exceed at last 250,000-300,000. I expect more than 15 million tourists will come to Antalya in 2019, and it seems it will surpass 50 million in Turkey."
Touching on tourism revenues, the most debated issue in the sector despite the increased number of tourists, Ayık said that further improvement is expected in revenue in 2019. According to Ayık, the average tourist income per capita figures are yet to be announced, while they are estimated to rise by 10-15 percent in 2019.
"Of course, which criteria we use will be important as well. Probably, the average length of stay will decline from now on, and per-person calculations will be effective. However, I estimate an improvement of 10-15 percent. We will achieve 2014 price levels in 2020 and beyond. Our target is to achieve the world average, which is $1,000 per capita income, by 2023," he said.
Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD) Chairman Ülkay Atmaca said the increase is "super," noting that talks held at the Utrecht Fair in the Netherlands revealed a major increase in all markets. Indicating that it seems that 2019 will be better than 2018 in terms of the number of tourists and revenue, Atmaca said: "The year 2019 will exceed 2018 by at least 14-20 percent in terms of the number of tourists, with 15 percent from the Russian market and 20 percent in Europe, especially from the German market. Prices have increased by 8-10 percent. In 2018, we had focused more on figures, and it was a year of recovery after poor-performing years. This year, there will be an increase in income. By and large, I think we will easily pass 14 million."