As the summer season goes into full swing, Turkey's food tourism sector is expected to hit all-time highs in terms of the number of tourists and revenue this year.
As part of Turkey's target of 50 million tourists and $40 billion in turnover, the share of food tourism is expected to hit $8 billion to $10 billion this year. Kaya Demirer, the Chairman of Turkish Restaurants and Entertainment Association (TURYİD), said gastronomy spending per capita for tourists was $650 last year. "We are expecting that figure to hit $720 this year.
Demirer added that they expected turnover of at least $8 billion in 2019, in parallel with the record expectation in the tourism sector.
"If the target of 50 million tourists is reached we expect turnovers of around $10 billion. We are focusing on gastronomic tourism with a series of promotions. We have also received full support from the Ministry," he said.
According to industry data, the food tourism turnover in Antalya alone is around 2.5 billion euros ($2.81 billion). Turkey Butchers' Federation head Fazlı Yalçındağ said the revival in the tourism sector also increased the demand for the meat sector, adding that 5% of the meat produced in Turkey was consumed in the tourism sector.
"Even a 1% increase in demand is very significant for animal breeders," he continued. "Since boutique hotels and tourist facilities make their purchases from local traders around the country, tourism contributes to each and every sector."
It is estimated that $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables are consumed per year in touristic facilities. This figure is equal to one-quarter of exports to Russia.
Kemal Kaçmaz, the chairman of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association of Turkey (TYMSIB), said that lemons kept on the tree past the fully ripened stage and oranges for juicing were preferred in the tourist facilities in summer, while 70% of the citrus fruit in the warehouses were consumed in this period. According to the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) survey, the annual food consumption of a hotel with 400 rooms and 65% occupancy covers 56 tons of food for breakfast, 580 tons of vegetables and fruits, 59 tons of red meat, 40 tons of white meat, 12.5 tons of delicatessen meats, 35 tons of seafood, 322,000 eggs, 35.5 tons of potatoes, 41.5 tons of flour, 666,000 liters of beverages, 80 tons of milk and dairy products, and 412,000 liters of bottled water.