More than 10 million foreign tourists visited Antalya in 2017 with a 56 percent year-on-year increase, the head of a top tourism association said, adding that early reservations from Russia and Europe were fairly strong for summer 2018, and that now was the time for the province to update its room prices, Hurriyet reports.
“Turkey hosted more Russian tourists last year than in 2014,” Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers’ Association head Erkan Yağcı (AKTOB) said. Some 4.7 million Russians visited Turkey in 2017, according to Yağcı.
Turkey’s tourism industry has suffered from a strain in Russia-Turkey relations. The number of Russians spending their holidays in Turkey plunged in 2016. However, as relations have improved, Russian holidaymakers have started to return to Turkey.
“The number of Russian tourists in Antalya increased by 56 percent to 10 million last year. This was a significant improvement,” Yağcı said.
In 2017, 32 million foreign tourists visited Turkey while the number of local holidaymakers came to 5.5 million, according to Yağcı.
He also noted that the global tourism industry grew by seven percent last year, with 1.32bln people travelling around the world. The main tourist destination was Europe in 2017, Yağcı said.
Early bookings for Turkey made by European and Russian holidaymakers point to a strong performance in 2018, he added.
“We have to strike a good balance between affordable price and quality service. We need to focus now on pricing issues and update our prices. It would be ill-advised to raise prices sharply. We have to increase them gradually,” Yağcı said.