Turkey anticipates prosperous tourism despite quake

Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is expected to see a large number of tourists flowing in this summer despite the devastating earthquakes in February, industry professionals have said.

As temperatures rise, “Turkish Riviera”, the southern part of the country famed for its Turquoise coast and ancient heritage sites, is entering the start of its peak tourism season, Xinhua news agency reported.

Sector representatives reported a decline in reservations following the deadly February 6 earthquakes in the southeastern parts of Turkey, but things soon returned to normal, they said.

“Last year’s favorable data on foreign arrivals and revenues have given us hope this year at the start of the summer season,” Burhan Sili, chair of the Alanya Touristic Hoteliers Association, told the news agency in a recent interview.

Turkey’s tourism income in 2022 saw an all-time high, jumping to $46.3 billion with 51 million foreign visitors, the country’s statistical authority announced in January.

Sili said that demand dropped in the aftermath of the devastating tremors but then picked up in a couple of weeks, making a full recovery.

Alanya, a main tourist destination on the Mediterranean coast, saw a 55-percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to figures released by the local governorate in early April.

Sili said the tourists from Russia and the European countries, especially Germany and Britain, will make up a large share of the arrivals.

“Overall, we estimate that we will close the 2023 season with a better performance than 2022 in terms of the number of arrivals and revenues,” Sili added.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said in January that foreign arrivals are expected to reach 60 million in 2023, before hitting $90 million in 2028, while the income will reach $56 billion this year and $100 billion in five years.

The tourism sector plays an important part in the country’s economy, which saw a widening current account deficit in recent years. The industry also provides the livelihood of over two million people in the country.