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Why Britons’ hunger for Turkey is returning in 2017

Posted on 06 September 2017

Britons are helping to drive Turkey’s tourism and resurging foreign property market this year, with the country celebrating a 22 per cent year-on-year hike in the number of foreigners it welcomed in the first seven months of 2017, said Spot Blue International Property in September.

In July alone, the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey surpassed five million, representing a 46 per cent year-on-year increase, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Of these tourists, Britons comprised the third largest group (277,955), after Germans (680,616) and Russians (835,525).

Between January and July, Turkey attracted 17.3 million foreign visitors. During this period, the Antalya province was a star performer, recording a 60 per cent rise in tourist numbers, according to Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş.

“The signs are very encouraging after the downturn last year,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Foreign visitors, but in particular Europeans, are regaining the confidence to visit Turkey. And the Turkish Government remains determined to hit its annual target of receiving 50 million tourists and generating $50 billion through tourism by 2023. ”

In tandem with tourism, Turkey’s foreign property market is seeing an uplift in 2017, according to the most recent statistics from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK). Sales to foreigners rose 65.3 per cent in July compared to the same month last year, mirroring a hike in sales in Turkey’s domestic market.

TÜİK’s July figures reveal Britons as the fifth largest group of foreign buyers in Turkey, behind the Gulf States of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and Russia. Looking closer at the data, Istanbul remains the most popular destination with foreign purchasers, attracting nearly 31 per cent of all sales in July. The southern resort and province of Antalya was the second favourite, followed by the Black Sea province of Trabzon. Elsewhere, the Muğla province, which includes Bodrum and Fethiye, remains a favourite with British buyers.

Antalya’s established resorts on the Mediterranean coastline, which include Antalya city, Alanya, Belek, Side and Kalkan, is on course to attract more than 10 million tourists this year. Antalya’s Governor Münir Karaloğlu confirmed that already by mid-August, tourism numbers for the year has reached 6.5 million, which represented a 65 per cent rise compared to the same period in 2016.

“Turkey can look forward to further upticks in tourism next year, thanks to efforts to appeal to Chinese visitors,” added Mr Walker. “A joint campaign between the Chinese and Turkish governments aims to attract one million Chinese tourists annually by 2018, a year that China has declared ‘Turkey tourism year’. The two governments have also collaborated to increase flights between the countries. Overall, these are encouraging initiatives that should benefit the country and its property market. And it helps when famous people choose Turkey for their summer holidays, as Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, and the Saudi royal family did this year.”

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