Early bookings from Germany for summer holidays in Turkey have surged by 123 percent year-on-year, according to Culture and Tourism Ministry's Berlin-based representative Hüseyin Gazi Coşan.
The aim is to raise the number of German tourists to 5.6 million this year, Coşan was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency (AA) on the sidelines of the International Boat Show in Dusseldorf, Germany.
"The number of tourists in 2016 and 2017 had been below the numbers we expected, but Turkey made a comeback in 2018," he said, adding that Turkey currently leads in sales in Germany according to early bookings.
Elaborating on the reasons behind the rise in demand, Çoşan said Turkey's products are of very high quality along with an indisputable quality in service. "We welcome our guests much better than competing countries. The customers we lost in two years saw this. Those who preferred Spain, Italy and Greece are now returning to Turkey," he added.
Highlighting that 4.8 million tourists came from Germany, Coşan said in 2019, they expect and aim to increase the number of German tourists to over 5.6 million people.
Ahmet Çetin, the chairman of the Antalya Branch of the Turkish Chamber of Shipping (DTO), said Antalya's tourism season went quite poorly in 2016 and 2017; however, the sector made a recovery in 2018. "In 2019, we expect a 50 to 60 percent increase in the number of tourists in Antalya. Particularly, we see a large increase in the number of German tourists compared to the previous seasons. I think 2019 will be very good," he added.
Çetin pointed to the reasons behind this increase as bringing the two governments closer and making Turkey more comfortable, saying the activities of the Culture and Tourism Ministry were instrumental in this issue. "Turkey is now quite advanced in tourism," he continued. "The only problem is that the low prices from 2016 should be taken to the normal level."
He stressed the service quality of Turkish tourism is better than other countries, led by food and hotels. "Indeed, our hotel management and hospitality, as well as our respect and interest in tourists, is very favorable. I believe 2019 will be very good, and we will be in much better places in 2020," Çetin said.
According to the Tourism Ministry, more than 37.5 million foreigners visited the country in the first 11 months of 2018, up 23 percent year-on-year. Once the figures for December are released, the country is expected to have surpassed the target of 40 million foreign visitors, an all-time high.
The figures revealed that the country hosted nearly 43 million visitors, including Turkish expats living abroad, in the said period of this year, with a 21.35 percent year-on-year increase. The year 2018 was projected to close with a total of 45 million visitors.