TODAY’S – Antalya tourism numbers show slower growth in H1

Antalya tourism numbers show slower growth in H1Growth in the number of tourists to Turkey’s major tourism hub of Antalya slowed down in the first half of this year compared to the same period of 2013, according to data released on Wednesday.Data from the Antalya Culture and Tourism Directorate released on Wednesday revealed that only 56 percent more tourists visited Antalya in the first six months this year compared to the same six-month period in 2013, a much lower rise when compared to the 10 percent increase in the same period last year Antalya attracted 427 million tourists in the first half of this year, with the slowdown in growth attributed to the fact that European countries sent relatively fewer visitors to the city.

 Europe, along with Russia, has traditionally been the driver of tourism growth in Antalya, despite the city’s tourism sector having sought to diversify target markets over the past decade. The number of tourists visiting Antalya from the Middle East, the Gulf Emirates and Iran has boomed, particularly over the past five years.

 The first six months of 2014 saw a slump in number of European tourists to Antalya Germany, last year’s top country on the list of highest number of visitors to Antalya, sent 17 percent fewer tourists to the popular Turkish tourist destination in the January-June period this year compared to the first half of 2013. Likewise, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Italy and France were the other European countries from which Antalya experienced a fall in tourist numbers.

The highest decline was in tourists from Norway, with a drop of 26.5 percent.

 Amid the plunge in tourist numbers from Europe, countries like Russia, Iran and Israel came to the rescue of Antalya hoteliers and tourism facility owners. The number of Iranian visitors to the city jumped more than five times, with 64,519 Iranians visiting Antalya in the first half of 2014, while this number was only 12,689 in the same period in 2013.

Israeli tourists to Antalya more than doubled compared to the same period last year, with 50,723 Israelis spending their vacation in the city. Russia sent by far the highest number of tourists to Antalya in the first half of this year, with 148 million visitors — a 16.

6 percent rise from last year   The tourism industry in Antalya has pinned its hopes on an anticipated rise in tourists from the Middle East. The city’s tourism sector seeks to boost Antalya’s appeal to Arab visitors with improved transportation conditions and increased marketing.

With the start of direct flights from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Antalya on July 29, Emirati visitors will have the ability to fly to Antalya in less than 4 hours. This coincides with the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan, when Antalya expects to enjoy its peak season in Arab visitors.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman