In 2018, Turkey become the European tourist destination with the best growth performance. Moreover, the country broke a record for entry volume of visitors in the same year. Number of tourists who visited Turkey in 2018 exceeded 40 million for the first time and reached a record high with over 47 million people. The country targets 50 million tourists for 2019… Success rate of Turkey which beats records in tourism is remarkable in medical tourism as well.
Turkey’s tourism industry goes beyond itself with natural beauties, historical tissue, cuisine, architecture of the country, specific culture of each region, and fascinating beaches which are natural wonder, chilly uplands in the middle of lush forests, majestic mountains for ski and hundreds of alternatives.
According to “European Tourism 2018: Trends and Prospects” report of the European Travel Commission (ETC), the best growth performance of 2018 belongs to Turkey. Number of tourists who visited Turkey last year reached an all-time-high and annually rose by 22.3%. The country had a year of records with respect to entry volume of visitors as well. Number of tourists who visited Turkey in 2018 exceeded 40 million for the first time and reached a record high with over 47 million people.
Turkey is the leader in tourism again!
Report of ETC revealed that it became an attractive tourist destination once more. It was stated in the report that striking tourism transformation of Turkey continued in 2018 as well. Besides, it was reported that the country was at the top in terms of international tourist movements in Europe again. According to the recent data, despite the unsteady economic growth in the last months, growth of travel in the continent was stable in 2018. In the report, 32 of 33 destinations hosted more tourists than last year. The single country with downward trend was the United Kingdom.
August 2018 data shows that annual arrivals to Turkey increased by 22.9% compared to August 2017 whereas this figure slowed down only on November with a fall of 0.6 points. Thus, the average annual arrivals was calculated as 22.3%. In line with such data, it was interpreted in the report as follows: “It shows that tourism of Turkey continues to improve and still draws interest of the travellers even at low season.” Besides, “Among the accommodation data set, the hotels in Turkey offer the cheapest accommodation” was said, pointing out to the comparison between Turkish lira and Euro.
It is seen that the tourism market in Turkey began to strengthen in 2017 following a dramatic fall in 2016 due to several events, and started to rise rapidly in 2018 season.
Turkey hosts a substantial amount of tourists from not only Europe, but also the Far East. China declared 2018 as “Turkey Tourism Year”. Turkey used this opportunity and number of Chinese tourists who visited Turkey increased by 67.1% compared to the previous year. In the report, it was stated: “Similar to many non-European markets, the number of Indian visitors in Turkey went up by 74.4%. Turkey targets especially the Indian wedding tourism market.”
Indian tourists generally prefer İstanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya. Eastern Anatolia Region engages their attention as well. On the other hand, limited number of Indians visit Blacksea Region.
Growth will continue in 2019
Tour operators such as TUI Group and Thomas Cook focused on Turkey in the last years after the beginning of the increase in customer demand. The tour operators highlight the marked cheapness of Turkey both for consumers and businesses compared to the West Mediterranean countries. They say that the growth in 2018 may depend on devaluated Turkish lira, cheaper accommodation and the perception of improved safety in the country. Nick Wrightman, General Manager of The Discerning Collection which specialized in Turkey said: “Turkey started to get better in 2017, but 2018 was absolutely a much better year. I noticed that families returned to Turkey and this is a wonderful sign for the country. You know that the visit of families indicate safety of the destination…”
In ETC report, continuance of Turkey’s growth in European tourism market in 2019 was envisaged. It was mentioned that particularly, the significant rise in arrivals of Russian tourists balanced the slow recovery in important source markets such as Germany and the United Kingdom. Although the countries like Spain and Portugal turned the instability in Turkey into an advantage, the current trend reverse. International tourism growth of Spain and Portugal regressed to 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively. These figures contain the first 11 months of the year.
Turkey is followed by Serbia (14.7%), Malta (14.5%), Montenegro (14%) and Latvia (10.1%) with respect to the highest growth performance. According to ETC report, it may be difficult for more developed destinations such as the United Kingdom to maintain their higher growth rates compared to the developing countries. Furthermore, it is specified in the report that the developing tourism industry of Iceland went down to 5.5% in 2018.
Mobility from the Far East will speed up
The President of Executive Board of World Tourism Forum, Bulut Bağcı evaluated the rally of the tourism in Turkey for Turkish British Magazine. Bağcı stated that share of Turkey in global tourism increases day by day thanks to its dynamic structure in various industrial fields such as holiday, belief, congress, cruise and medical tourism.
Bulut Bağcı remarked this pluriformity which makes Turkey different from its competitors, and mentioned inclusion of new countries in tourist profile of Turkey. He states that Turkey gains competitive advantage in global tourism industry with the combination of its historical and natural resources and its rich cultural heritage arising from its geographical location.
Bağcı emphasized that transportation alternatives of İstanbul will rise with the opening of Galataport and Yenikapı Harbour after the New Airport was brought into service, and mobility in Far East, particularly China will gain momentum. “We can see this progress very clearly with the increased number of tourists who visited our country during the last years. Even though 2018 was a challenging year unavoidably, the tourism industry experienced a rise of 12 percent. We believe that it will increase by 15 percent this year. On the other hand, the main leap of tourism industry will occur in 2020. Large-scale transportation projects, the activities for the countries like China which have vital potential for Turkey and several collaborations will contribute to this success significantly…“ adds he.
Bağcı specified that considerable steps of Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s biggest airlines in Far East market strengthened the industry. “Seat occupancy rate and passenger number of the company reached 85 percent and 2.3 million in the first five months, respectively. Such increase in passenger number corresponds to 4.3 percent. In addition to such developments, new destinations are sought for flight to China. Namely, these facts are crucial for Chinese market. We will reap benefits of the enterprises undertaken by Turkish Airlines to arrange flights to eight new cities in China after Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong in 2020. We expect that the said developments will speed up our tourism activities for China and bring 1 million Chinese tourists to our country in two years” said he.
WHICH TOURISTS VISIT WHICH LOCATIONS IN TURKEY?
Antalya was the most popular tourist destination
It is possible to see the foreign tourists in almost every city of Turkey which ended 2018 with records and is prepared to set new records in 2019. However, majority of the tourists in this country surrounded by three seas prefer holiday by the sea. According to 2018 data, the most visited province is Antalya. The city hit the peak with its vast shores, fascinating nature and historical tissue by hosting 9,255,267 tourists in 2018. Weather in Antalya, the province with maximum number of ancient cities in Turkey is generally sunny all the year round. Besides, felt air temperature in winter almost resembles cold spring weather. Thanks to its beaches and climate, Antalya has the ear of the tourists who come from cold countries. The city hosted Russian tourists the most in 2018. Kemer is one of the most popular locations in Antalya for them. Kemer offers tourists numerous alternatives as well as its broad shores. The district draws intense interest with its natural and historical beauties. Phaselis Ancient City and Bay is an important place to see. There are three bays and beaches in the ancient city which was founded in 7 BC by Lycians, and then entered into domination of many civilizations, even pirates. Beldibi Cave, Tahtalı Beach, Göynük Canyon which contains a significant part of Lycian Way, one of the top 10 hiking track, Yanartaş called as “Infinite Fire” by Lycians, and Üçoluk Upland with a height of 1,500 meter which reveals the natural beauties of Mediterranean are only a few of the breath-taking and worth-seeing locations in Kemer and around the district…Belek and Alanya are visited the most after Kemer. In addition to Russians, Majority of Germans prefer Mediterranean Region located in southern Turkey, especially Antalya.
The Peerless city; İstanbul, Turkey’s centre of attraction
İstanbul became the 2nd Turkish city visited by tourists the most in 2018. In 2018, Istanbul hosted 9,008,643 visitors. Marmara Sea passes through this city which became the capital of three empires in history. Istanbul hypnotizes the visitors not only with Bosporus, but also its historical tissue of thousand years. There are many places to visit such as the Maiden’s Tower, Galata Tower, Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia Museum, Dolmabahçe Palace, Topkapı Palace, Ortaköy Square, Beyoğlu etc… It is possible to see tourists from almost all over the world in İstanbul, because the city amazes the visitors of different cultures equally.
Muğla is preferred by the English both for holiday and living
Muğla became the city visited the most in 2018 by the English. The province has been the ear of the English tourists for the last ten years. Muğla hosts numerous foreign tourists with its qualified accommodation opportunities as well as natural beauties. The visitors from the United Kingdom usually come to the touristic districts of the city such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Datça and Dalaman and plan to live in this region. The foreigners who visit Muğla the most rank as follows: The English, Russians and Germans. They are followed by the Ukrainians and the Dutch. Muğla is preferred by 1.5 million of approximately 2.5 million English tourists who visit Turkey in a year. Fethiye featured by Ölüdeniz, Datça known with world –famous beaches, Bodrum preferred for its bays and ancient cities and many districts of Muğla are holiday destinations where the tourists do not want to leave because of the natural beauties and hospitability of locals.
Arabs are on chilly uplands of Blacksea
In recent years, the number of Arab tourists who visit Blacksea Region has increased dramatically. Blacksea became the most popular region of Arabs in Turkey in 2018 as well. To list the top two cities in Blacksea, they preferred Trabzon known with Uzungöl and Rize featured by Ayder and İkizdere uplands…Thanks to its unmatched lush nature, chilly uplands, waterfalls of all sizes, different culture, historical tissue and pretty rich cuisine, Blacksea offers tourists a holiday with abundant oxygen in nature. Adana, Mersin and Hatay the provinces which are chosen the most by Arabs after Blacksea Region.
Another favourite holiday location in Turkey is Cappadocia… Cappadocia which has a fabulous atmosphere is preferred the most by the Chinese who are keen on culture tourism, rather than sea tourism. Cappadocia ranked number five in “The New 25 Wonders of the World” list published in Times Newspaper. Moreover, it has been included in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List since 1985. Cappadocia is the favourite destination of the tourists from Germany, South Korea, Italy, France, Spain and many countries.
Another city which engage attention of tourists is Gaziantep known with its historical ruins and rich cuisine… Particularly Germans, the Dutch and Belgians visit the historical beauties of thousands of years in this city. On the other hand, Selimiye Mosque in Edirne is another popular historical place which hosts Germans the most.
NEW RECORDS ARE SET IN 2019
The second choice of the English is Turkey in 2019
It is seen that the interest shown in Turkey continues increasingly in 2019 as well. One of the world’s biggest airline and travel companies, Thomas Cook based in the U.K. explained that 48 percent of the English tourists prefer non-European countries. This rate was below 38 percent in the last year. The company announced that one-fourth of the bookings are for Turkey and tourists usually choose the cities by the sea. Turkey followed Spain as the second country preferred for bookings by the U.K. holidaymakers.
Thomas Cook’s chief of tour operating, Will Waggott generally bought “all-inclusive packages” in non-European locations this summer: “Turkey got ahead of Greece and rose to second rank in the U.K.’s top travel destinations. Besides, Tunisia takes attention with its rapid rise.”
A new record has been set in one of the most popular holiday resorts of Turkey, Antalya late in June in 2019. Number of the visitors has exceeded 2 million for the first time in that month. 2019 passes with new records in Turkish tourism industry.
Göbeklitepe where history is made again became the centre of attraction
Göbeklitepe which was featured as “Zero point in time” and added to UNESCO World Heritage List contributed to the dramatic increase in tourist potential of Turkey. The destination located in Şanlıurfa was constructed 12,000 years ago. History of transition to settled life was made again with the discovery of Göbeklitepe which consists of many round structures. Of them, only 6 were brought to light. It is estimated that there are 20 structures in total. Archaeological works go on to find out the others. Declaration of 2019 as “the Year of Göbeklitepe” in Turkey resulted in a remarkable rise in the number of foreign tourists. It is envisaged that the interest in Göbeklitepe will go up.
“HEALTH+HOLIDAY” PACKAGES TURKEY DRAW INTENSE ATTENTION
Turkey ranks third after the U.S. and Germany in medical tourism
Turkey which offers tourists having holiday in four seasons rallies considerably in medical tourism as well. Thanks to its geographical location, Turkey appeals to nearly 1 billion people and 57 countries with a flight distance of 4 hours. The country booms in medical tourism with its team of expert physicians, qualified human resource, the hospitals with advanced technological facilities and affordable prices which are lower than those in Europe by about 60 percent. Especially the medical packages which contain health services plus holiday programs provide health services at international standards and a perfect holiday in unique natural beauties of Turkey. Turkey shines out with SPA&Wellness, thermal tourism, geriatric tourism, tourism for the disabled, healthy nutrition tourism and advanced active life health tourism as well.
According to the information given by the Founding Chairman of the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council, Emin Çakmak, Turkey is the third country after the U.S. and Germany in medical tourism. It ranks five numerically. Of the tourists who prefer Turkey for health reasons, 32 percent receive cancer treatment in Russia and Turkish Republics and 19 percent choose the Middle East, particularly Turkey for aesthetic procedures. The rest of 49 percent visit Turkey for more than 60 types of treatment, including dental treatment. Data from the Ministry of Health shows that Turkey ranks first in Europe with the number of organ transplantation procedures which approached to 5,600 in 2018. This figure was 4,902 in 2017. In Turkey, organ donations are usually made from living donors (75 percent). The remaining share (25 percent) belongs to cadavers.
Global trend: Aesthetic tourism
Based on the data of Export Promotion Centre (İGEME), Turkey hosted approximately 600,000 patients as part of medical tourism in 2018. The country generated an income of 1.8 billion dollar. Majority of the patients visited Turkey for hair transplantation categorized in aesthetic applications. Hair transplantation economy exceeded 1 billion dollar in 2018. Thousands of people undergo hair transplantation every day in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. The global upward trend in medical tourism is aesthetic tourism, including hair transplantation. Turkey draws a very successful graphic particularly in non-operative aesthetic procedures. In recent years, the non-operative aesthetic procedures can be performed with zero risk in summer. Thus, this situation turned into a great advantage both for tourists and the physicians specialized in plastic surgery.
The tourists who want to have aesthetic operations prefer Turkey due to its affordability and various holiday alternatives. According to the last research published by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Turkey is among top five countries with highest number of aesthetic procedures in Europe. Rhinoplasty operations which are successfully performed by Turkish plastic surgeries make up 9.4% of these aesthetic procedures. In particular, the patients from the Middle East and Europe increasingly prefer this successful country in any aesthetic operations, for rhinoplasty procedures. Competence of the plastic surgeons in Turkey in numerous aesthetic branches such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men) appeals to the people in foreign countries, so aesthetic tourism becomes popular day by day. Many tourists from western and eastern countries prefer having operation especially in Turkey.
Allocate some time to beautification on holiday!
In addition to hair transplantation and rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, breast reduction, liposuction, abdominal lift, arm and leg lift operations are performed in summer. Protecting the operation region from sunlight is enough for summer aesthetic procedures. Finally, the patient can enjoy summer with shaped body. In case of rhinoplasty and face lift operations, patients need to be more careful, because sunlight may contact these regions directly and protection from sun may not be possible. However, these patients can return to their daily lives in a short time. Most of the non-operative facial rejuvenation procedures do not pose risk in summer. AWT (Acoustic Wave Therapy) and no-needle mesotherapy used to remove wrinkles are only a few of them. Aesthetic clinics in Turkey offer countless alternatives such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, liposuction and abdominal lift for being beautiful without disrupting holiday. In particular, dental aesthetics such as Hollywood smile design are the leading operations which can be performed in summer on holiday.