ANTALYA – The number of Russian tourists visiting the Mediterranean resort of Antalya plunged 96 percent in the first five months of the year to around 21,000, according to data from provincial authorities, as rising security concerns and the jet crisis with Russia hit the country’s tourism sector.
Over 1.5 million tourists visited Antalya by air in the first five months of the year, a 42 percent decline compared to the same period of 2015, according to data compiled by Doğan News Agency.
The highest number of foreign tourists came from Germany with more than 582,000 arrivals, although the figure represents a 30 percent drop from the previous year. The Netherlands was the second largest source of tourists to Antalya in the first five months of the year, yet the number of arrivals from the country was also down 33 percent year on year. The number of British tourists visiting the resort declined to 93,285 in the January-May period from 116,464 in the same period of 2015.
The city saw a dramatic rise in the number of Ukrainian tourists as around 90,000 tourists from the country visited Antalya in the first five months of the year, a 57 percent of hike from last year.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey saw a 17-year plunge in April with a 28 percent decrease compared to the same month of 2015. A total of 5.8 million foreigners visited the country in the first four months of the year, according to official data. The losses in the sector are expected to hit $15 billion, according to sector players.
Many hotels ‘closed’
Dozens of hotels will either remain closed or open late this season in Turkey due to the recent hurdles.
The head of Turkey’s Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED), Osman Ayık, told daily Hürriyet that hotel reservations for the coming period were giving little hope.
“Many hotels are closed, and this is not the case only in Antalya, but along the whole coastline. Hotel occupancy rates are very low in the hotels which are open, ranging between 20 and 30 percent, although the prices are 50 percent lower than they were last year. The owners of more than one hotel generally choose to open just one of their hotels to cut losses,” he said.
One of the hotel owners is Yavuz Torunoğlu, who is also the head of the Fethiye Touristic Hoteliers Association.
“Many leading hoteliers choose to combine their operations under one hotel, while small or giant hotels have remained closed. That is what we did,” he was quoted as saying by daily Hürriyet.
“Some other hotels will be opened late after the end of Ramadan and schooling season,” he said.
Sector players have asked that Eid al-Fitr, the feast at the end of Ramadan, be extended to nine days to encourage more domestic tourists to head for the coasts. The cabinet is expected to announce a decision on the matter soon.