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Tourism: Prices attract Germans to Turkey

Tourism: Prices attract Germans to Turkey

Tight holiday budgets but a great longing for the beach and the sea are making package holidays more attractive again for many Germans – and promising a new boom for the Turkish tourism industry.

It is not even peak season, but in Antalya, Turkey, the beach chairs in front of the large hotels in the town of Aksu are already well occupied. The tourism industry in the holiday region is celebrating a record: more Germans than ever before are expected to travel to Antalya this year, predicts the local Aktob tourism association. Not despite, but because of tight travel budgets and inflation.

Turkey has been a favorite among German vacationers for years, but compared to the time before the pandemic, its importance has now increased. “The share of sales for the Greece and Turkey region will rise from 36 to 44 percent for the coming summer compared to 2019,” says the German Travel Association (DRV). At the end of March, Turkey alone had already shown disproportionate growth of 45 percent compared to the previous year for the summer season.

“Turkey has a wide range of offers, especially all-inclusive packages, which is particularly attractive in times of inflation and rising living costs,” says the DRV. And that is what most people choose: The majority of Germans in Antalya choose establishments that have an all-inclusive offer, says a spokesperson for the Turkish tourism association Türsab.

One reason for Türkiye’s boom: high purchasing power of the euro

The Nill family from near Tübingen are among them: After a week’s package holiday in Antalya, the family is waiting at the airport for their return journey, their hotel wristbands still around their wrists. The family of four has compared prices and Turkey has won in terms of value for money. Friends Desiré and Natalie from Würzburg have travelled with three children and appreciate the family-friendly offer and the quality of the products. You can’t get that anywhere else for that price, they say.

“Turkey has even overtaken France in terms of search queries this year,” says Susanne Dopp, spokeswoman for the travel platform Expedia. The country is very easy to reach from Germany. “There are numerous direct flights, even from smaller airports such as Bremen, Saarbrücken or Dresden.” In addition, travelers can choose from a wide range of accommodation types. The most frequently used filters used by people interested in Turkey from Germany on Expedia are “all-inclusive,” “5 stars” and “breakfast included.” Another factor may also be the high purchasing power of the euro.

Türkiye plans to host seven million German holidaymakers in 2024

Prices have also risen in Turkey: In May, Turkish inflation was 75 percent year-on-year. Prices in hotels and restaurants were on average almost 92 percent higher in the local currency than in May 2023. In the same period, however, the lira has lost about half its value compared to the euro – so prices have also risen in euros, but much less sharply. “For people in Turkey, holidays in many hotels in Antalya have become unaffordable,” says Kemal Birdir, professor at the Faculty of Tourism at the University of Mersin. However, the many Russian and German holidaymakers can keep up with the prices and fill the hotels.

Tourism Minister Nuri Ersoy wants to attract seven million tourists from Germany to the country this year. In 2023, 6.2 million Germans have already vacationed in Turkey, 81 percent of them in Antalya. This year, the Aktob association expects four million Germans to visit Antalya alone. If this forecast comes true, that would be more than ever before. On paper, tourism in Turkey has already recovered from the pandemic; last year, visitor numbers were already higher than in 2019.

Criticism of increasing mass tourism

“Germany has become the driving force behind mass tourism here,” Aktob boss Kaan Kavaloğlu told dpa. There are no voices against it in Antalya, as there are currently in other holiday destinations. “Both our industry representatives and our citizens in the tourism regions are extremely satisfied with the tourist activity,” Türsab said when asked. The region on the Mediterranean is also groaning under the burden of tourists.

The fact that there is no great resistance is also due to the fact that tourism in Antalya is of national importance, says university professor Kemal Birdir. In the province of Antalya alone there are more five-star hotels than in the whole of Spain. This means a huge demand for workers. “In the summer months, workers from all over the country migrate to the region to work in the tourism industry. For a village in the southeast, for example, it can mean a major economic change to send workers there who then support their families.” Three million people work in the tourism sector nationwide in the summer season, which is around eleven percent of the total workforce. On average, each of the 56 million tourists spent around 900 euros in Turkey last year.

But a change in the country’s extremely resource-intensive industry is unavoidable, says Birdir. “Criticism of mass tourism is growing all over the world,” and Turkey must also take action. “If sustainability initiatives are not taken, many of the destinations will no longer be accessible in the future.” Some hotels have already joined sustainability initiatives. But especially against the backdrop of the weak lira and inflation in the country, tourism is a popular source of income: “It works completely without imports and with local resources.”

Source: Stern

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