Antalya loses $5 bln in tourism income this year: Association

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Tourism income losses at the Mediterranean resort of Antalya will be more than $5 billion, mainly due to a sharp decline in the number of Russian tourists visiting the city, according to sector representatives.

“Antalya faces a serious decline in tourism income this year due to the declining number of Russian tourists visiting the city. The loss will not be lower than $5 billion,” said the head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD), Ali Kızıldağ.

He said the government had taken several measures to overcome the losses in the sector, such as granting $6,000 fuel support for each flight to tour operators active in Turkey’s leading tourism markets.

“These measures do not, however, help the Russian market, which is in a deep economic crisis. Some other measures may be developed to make Turkey’s tourism sector more appealing,” he said.

Kızıldağ noted the Russian government has created several programs to encourage local travel across the country to revive the economy. In this vein, some foreign travel restrictions have been applied for public servants, he added.

“All of these factors have negatively affected Antalya’s tourism sector,” he said.

Economic losses increasing

The number of Russian tourists visiting Antalya declined by 25 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2014, he noted, adding that financial loss of this decline has been around 50 percent.

“Tradesmen in Antalya say their commercial volume have declined by around 50 percent this year compared to last year… We need to see the financial losses in detail. The tourism sector may reach the same tourist numbers it made last year. It may even increase the number by 1-2 percent. In a country where the bed capacity has been growing in a steady manner, such a slight increase is, however, not enough. The ideal increase point is around 8-10 percent in the sector,” he said.

Kızıldağ noted that Russian tourists still need passport to enter Turkey, as measures enabling Russians to enter the country with solely ID cards have not been completed yet.

This is another negative factor, as only 10-15 percent of Russians have passports, he said.

Noting that new markets need to be developed to overcome the losses in the sector, Kızıldağ said new projects may focus on Middle Eastern countries, China, India and South Korea.

According to a report by the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB), the number of tourists visiting Antalya declined by 5.1 percent to 9.7 million in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2014.

A rise in the number of German tourists has enabled the city to recover its losses in the number of Russian tourists, according to AKTOB report.