Roundup: Turkey sees tourism rebound, expects better in 2022

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ISTANBUL, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Turkey experienced a fairly good tourism season this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2022 is expected to be better, said tourism professionals.

"I believe that we have given a good image of tourism with the safe program that we are promoting, and thus the occupancy rate is satisfactory despite the end of the tourism season," Volkan Yorulmaz, a board member of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey, told Xinhua.

Tourism season in Turkey usually starts from May and ends after the summer months.

"The weather is still good on the Mediterranean coast in November, and foreign guests are vacationing," Yorulmaz noted.

In Turkey's capital Ankara, tour operator Esra Kilic told Xinhua that some hotels are working longer due to the high demand.

Russian tourists began arriving this year in the southern Antalya province, their favorite destination, from the end of June after a two-month flight suspension imposed by Moscow over concerns about a surge in COVID-19 cases in April.

Kilic explained that the industry had higher expectations for 2022 with an increase in vaccination around the world.

Tourism in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and a cultural hub, is also gaining momentum with an upper segment of visitors, she said.

Kilic added that the clients are inquiring about prices and locations for the next year. Apart from the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, there is also an interest in Cappadocia in central Anatolia, famous for its unique volcanic cones and hot-air balloon trips.

Cappadocia used to be a hotspot for Chinese tourists before the coronavirus outbreak. Local sector representatives are hoping for their return in 2022.

The number of foreign visitors from January to September this year is up to 86 percent from the same period last year and hit 17.6 million in the country, according to Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.

In 2019, Turkey's tourist revenue hit a record 34.5 billion U.S. dollars with more than 45 million foreign visitors. However, tourism plummeted by more than 65 percent in 2020 due to travel restrictions, but rebounded in 2021.

Having been experiencing economic difficulties, Turkey sees tourism as a very important source of income. The weakening of the Turkish currency has made the country more attractive to foreign visitors.

The contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy is 12 percent, constituting the main source of foreign income.

Turkey aims to lure 50 million tourists and expand the sector's revenues to 50 billion dollars by 2023, said Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy recently.

Erkan Yagci, the chairperson of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association, told state-run Anadolu Agency that the region had a much better season than last year and hoped 2022 would surpass 2021.

"There is a significant effort by both the public and the private sector. It was an important success to initiate the tourism move during the pandemic and to make it sustainable. I think we have achieved this," he said. Enditem

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