More flights to boost number of Japanese, Chinese tourists

BETÜL ALAKENT
Published 20.09.2019 00:14

Gearing up to close the busy summer season, tourism operators have already started working on agreements for the upcoming 2020 season. Accelerating the flow of tourists from the Far East, as well as Europe and Russia to increase market diversity, tourism operators have particularly concentrated on Japanese and Chinese tourists who have been coming to Turkey all year. Thus, Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) has increased its flights to China and Japan in the recent period, followed by other airlines flying to Istanbul. Tourism operators pointed to transportation as the most important step to increase the number of tourists from the Far East. "The number of flights started to increase with the opening of Istanbul Airport," tourism operators said.

"By 2020, the number of tourists from Japan and China will double. This increase will continue in the coming years," they stressed.

200,000 Japanese tourists

THY, which has one daily flight from Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan, will launch flights from Haneda Airport in Tokyo as of April 2020. While it has recently resumed its Osaka flights, Japanese national airline ANA Airlines will also fly directly to Istanbul in the new period.

Other carriers such as Emirates, Korean Air, Astana, and Etihad Airlines, which have direct flights from Japan to Turkey, will also organize one flight each. Thus, eight aircraft, including four direct and four connected flights, will fly between Japan and Turkey daily. The number of Japanese tourists, expected to exceed 100,000 this year, will double to 200,000 by 2020.

Determined as a target market for Turkey, Japan has declared 2019 as the Year of Turkey, as part of which various exhibitions are being held throughout the year to bring Turkey's value to the forefront, covering many items, from cultural and archaeological heritage to art and gastronomy.

Over 750,000 Chinese tourists

Similar mobility is experienced in the number of Chinese tourists. THY, which has one daily flight from China's Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing airports, will launch one daily flight from Shanghai Airport as of April 2020. Turkish Airlines is also set to launch scheduled flights to China's central-northwest city of Xi'an, which marks the Silk Road's eastern end.

It has recently received the necessary approvals to start the Xi'an-Istanbul flights. Carrier officials then said the scheduled flights to the Chinese city would be carried out seven times a week. China marked Turkey Tourism Year in 2018 and hosted

dozens of events around the country. Around 400,000 Chinese tourists visited Turkey last year. This number is expected to exceed 450,000 this year and surpass 750,000 by 2020. The number of Chinese tourists in the country is expected to rise to 1 million in two years.

After China's national carrier Sichuan Airlines, China Southern Airlines has also scheduled one daily direct flight to Turkey, while Qatar, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan's national airlines are also set to fly from China to Turkey. The number of Chinese tourists, expected to reach 450,000 at the end of this year, is estimated to surpass 750,000 by 2020.

Ahmet Serdar Körükçü, the head of Dorak Holding, which brings 80% of tourists from China and Japan, pointed out that the number of tourists from both markets increased over the last two years, adding that these tourists stay an average of 10 days.

"Japanese and Chinese tourists occupy 85% of the hotels in Çanakkale, Ayvalık, İzmir, Kuşadası, Pamukkale, Cappadocia, and Safranbolu on a yearly basis," Körükçü said.

"The intense flow of tourists brings along different tour routes. In 2020, we will see a significant increase in southeastern Anatolia tours as well."

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