Tourist agencies revise growth forecasts for 2015

Tourist agencies have downgraded slightly their expectations for growth in the sector this year, according to an announcement from the Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TuRSAB) on Sunday.

In the announcement, TuRSAB Chairman Baiaran Ulusoy stated that while the industry expected growth of 4-5 percent, that figure has been revised to 1.5-2 percent due to negative regional developments.

“Despite all of the negative developments in Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Iraq as well as economic contractions in Europe, Turkey will still surpass the 42 million tourist mark this year. Tourism will bring the country $35-36 billion,” said Ulusoy. A total of 41.4 million tourists visited last year, bringing in $34.3 billion.

Ulusoy noted that the number of Turkish tourists traveling domestically and abroad has increased in recent years, saying that as many as 8 million traveled abroad annually for touristic purposes while an additional 6 million opted for tourist destinations within Turkey.

Referring to Mount Erciyes in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri that is home to popular ski resorts, Ulusoy said such areas should become year-round tourist destinations. “The ski resorts that we use during the winter should be open to tourism 12 months, 365 days a year. Erciyes in particular is an important area. Four- and five-star facilities are being built here, and we hope that they are not detrimental to the integrity of the mountains and appropriate for winter sports. We also hope they will be active during the summer,” Ulusoy said.

The Turkish tourism sector has appealed to Turkish tourists in an effort to strengthen the local slice of the market, as the Russian tourists who constitute a major part of tourism revenue are expected to visit Turkey in smaller numbers this year due to a major Russian economic downturn.