'Tourist paradise' Turkey optimistic for 2007

Turkey's tourism industry saw serious drops in tourist numbers through its 2006 season, but is seeing positive indicators that reservations from Europe are going to pick up again this year.

'Tourist paradise' Turkey optimistic for 2007

Turkey'stourism industry saw serious drops in tourist numbers through its 2006 season,but is seeing positive indicators that reservations from Europeare going to pick up again this year.


Oktay Varlýer, president of the Tourism InvestorsFoundation, said structural problems in 2006 combined with generally negativetrends made last year's season the first since 1999 to finish lower then theprevious year, according to the Anatolia newsagency.

Overall world tourism increased in 2006, said Varlýer, growing 4.5 percentcompared to the previous year, though it was Greece, Spain and other Aegeancountries that reaped the most benefits from this growth. Varlýer noted thatalthough Turkeydidn't experience a disaster like 1999's earthquake last year, 2006 did notallow the tourism sector to attain its goals. He explained: "There were two mainfactors in the lack of success in 2006. One was the disruption of our greatestadvantage, the price-quality balance, and the other was our careless responsesto things like bird flu, the cartoon crisis and the murder of the priest. Wesee that economic balances in the sector have been disrupted."

He went on: "The giant 50-percent increase in tourism demands through 2004and 2005 were not reflected adequately in terms of price increases for hotelrooms outside of Ýstanbul. And this is tied to the uncoordinated increase ofroom availability. Despite the fact that room prices haven't gone up, spendingin the Turkish lira has increased. The total inflation for 2003, 2004 and 2005was nearly 30 percent. But despite this foreign currency rates did not increase.High value-added, excise and employment taxes have continually pulled profitmargins downward. The reduction in materials being bought has forcedconcessions in service quality.

"The most dangerous factor for Turkish tourism is a reduction in touristsatisfaction. Turkeyin recent years has been able to capture the delicate balance between price andquality. But the events of 2006 disrupted this balance," he noted.

Varlýer talked about how Turkeymust come up with a better-planned and more effective publicity policy, notingthat while Turkeyneeds to work on straightening out certain image problems, it also has to comeup with publicity strategies that highlight its differences in comparison withits competition. Varlýer noted that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism hasmade budget increases for publicity.

"The strategies, planning and implementation for publicity need to occur noton a yearly basis, but on a more long-term basis....There is a particular needfor long-range publicity programs aimed at supporting Turkey's image.We also need to start focusing on destinations within Turkey, ratherthan just presenting the country as a whole. In this way, we will be able todirectly reach our targeted tourism customers, focusing on certain regions," hepredicted.

He also spoke about how the Tourism Structural Services Foundation, which isexpected to be legally formed sometime soon in the future, will assist inhelping publicize certain regions of Turkey.

Varlýer reiterated that Turkeywas a paradise for tourism, noting that there will still many things that hadto be taken care before this potential could be realized. "According to thefirst impressions being related by tour operators this year, Antalyaand the Aegean will experience higher levelsof success in Western European [tourist] markets than last year. In addition Turkey isfirmly placed on a more positive international economic position than lastyear. In light of all these developments, we expect that 2007 will come out up8 percent higher than 2006 [tourism] rates and that the number of foreigntourists coming to Turkeywill be around 21.4 million," he forecast.

 Today's Zaman



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16