Travel and tourism is one of the most dynamic industries in Turkey. Despite the economic crisis, this industry continued to grow in Turkey in 2010, although at a slower rate compared with the average for the review period as a whole (2005-2010).
As a result of a number of factors, including the high proportion of the younger population increasingly taking professional jobs in urban areas, Turkey was less affected by the economic crisis than most other Western European countries, which favoured domestic tourism. Also, in terms of inbound tourism, the depreciation of the Turkish Lira (YTL) against the US Dollar, as well as generally competitive prices, made Turkey a favourable destination for foreign tourists.
The global economic crisis caused income levels to drop globally, which meant that travellers preferred cheaper holiday options, which secured good value for money. Price-sensitivity was one of the key trends in the market. Prices of Turkish travel accommodation declined, starting from an already low base, in order to maintain incoming tourist numbers. Thanks to its natural beauty, rich history and low prices, Turkey remained a very popular destination for inbound tourists in 2010.
Land Transportation in 2010
The transportation type which recorded the highest growth in 2010 was land transportation, as decreasing disposable incomes and budgets for tourism favoured this less expensive mode of transport. In particular, coach companies offered attractive options such as speedy routes, internet access whilst travelling by coach, comfortable seats and high class service in order to be competitive with air transportation. They also increased the number of destinations. Moreover, land transportation was preferred by more tourists coming from neighbouring countries, such as Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Georgia and Armenia.
Five years ago, incoming tourism was largely concentrated on the southern region of the country and Istanbul. However, towards the end of the review period, in order to fuel growth in tourism, tour operators started offering tours to different regions of the country which are also rich in historic monuments and natural beauty, such as central Turkey and the Black Sea.
Following the new tourism law of 2008, new grants and subsidies were offered to companies which wanted to invest in less popular tourist regions, which created new destinations for sports tourism, culture tourism, archaeology and health and wellness tourism.
Potential for Health and Wellness Tourism
Turkey has many natural thermal springs which can be used for health and wellness (H&W) treatments. The thermal springs in Turkey have always been famous; however, this concept is starting to be marketed under the theme of health &wellness and spa tourism, and companies have developed high quality health treatments and relaxation packages.
The demand for this type of tourism increased considerably over the 2005-2010 year period. On the other hand, H&W tourism which also covers medical treatment (such as packages which offer dental treatment and a holiday at the same time) at hospitals started to be more important when combined with spa and wellness packages.
(Extract from Euromonitor International’s report “Travel and Tourism in Turkey”)