Foreign influx in Antalya reinforces bets for buoyant tourism season

Foreign tourists are flocking to Antalya, affirming the industry’s expectations for a buoyant season, as the southern Mediterranean tourism gem rebounds from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily arrivals hover between 25,000 and 30,000 during the week and reach up to 45,000 over the weekends, according to the city’s governor.

An influx of tourists from Europe, particularly Germany and Britain, two of the markets the Turkish tourism sector missed during the pandemic, has provided encouragement for an industry worried about the potential impact of the war in Ukraine.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to hit the arrivals from Turkey’s top tourist sources, just as the crucial sector has continued to recover from the impact of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 since 2020.

Antalya Governor Ersin Yazıcı says the coastal resort town is ready for the summer season, stressing the already high mobility, which reinforces high expectations for this year’s foreign arrivals and revenue.

Strong arrivals despite the war in Ukraine are encouraging the industry, Yazıcı told Anadolu Agency (AA).

“For about a month, we have been receiving between 25,000 and 30,000 foreign tourists daily, on weekends, this figure reaches between 40,000 and up to 45,000 a day,” Yazıcı said.

More than 9 million foreign tourists arrived in the southern province throughout 2021, in a major rebound from 2020, but it still well lagged 15.6 million that arrived in 2019.

“If it were not for the unpleasant incident between Russia and Ukraine this year, the expectation would have been to surpass the figures of 2019, we will definitely surpass 2021, and we can also approach the figures of 2019,” said Yazıcı.

More than 1.11 million foreign tourists arrived in Antalya between January through the end of April, according to data compiled from the provincial culture and tourism directorate.

It marks a 162% increase compared to some 423,773 tourists who arrived in the four months of last year.

Germany topped the list among nations in the resort city with nearly 330,000 tourists arriving from the nation through the end of last month. Brits and Russians followed with 150,944 and 143,485, the data showed.

Some British tour operators are said to have added additional capacity for flights to Turkey, while industry officials expect flights from Russia to gain momentum this month.

Russians and Ukrainians topped the list and accounted for about 40% and 14%, respectively, of foreign arrivals last year, said Yazıcı.

“This year the picture has changed a bit,” he noted, stressing that the number of guests who have arrived since January has so far reached 1.22 million.

“It is slightly below the 2019 figures, but it is a good figure. Some 445,000 people had arrived in the same period last year,” he said.

Germans and Brits spearhead the list, accounting for 29.5% and 13.5% of the arrivals, respectively, the governor noted. They are followed by Russians with 13% and the Dutch with 6.4%, he added.

“Arrivals from Europe and Northern Europe have increased. The sector is very pleased with the fact that arrivals from Germany and the U.K. have increased. We are expecting a good season despite the war.”

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