Turkey’s Antalya booms as tourist destination, while more Turks start to travel abroad

The city of Antalya on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast welcomed 12 million visitors in 2013, the highest number ever recorded anywhere in Turkey, according to the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Tourist numbers from Russia, China and Germany were especially high last year in Antalya, where the Turkish government has invested an estimated 13 billion Turkish liras in Antalya over the last 11 years.

“We rebuilt schools, universities, dormitories, sports complexes, roads and houses in Antalya. We will keep on with further projects to promote Antalya as a world brand,” said Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, during a visit to the city in December.

Meanwhile, the latest report from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) highlighted that Turkey has grown as an important source market for tourism around the world, with its outbound expenditure growing by 24 per cent in 2013.

Russia and China clearly stood out as two of the most important source markets in the world, reflecting the rise of these nationalities in Turkey. As well as Turkey, other emerging markets with substantial growth in outbound expenditure included Qatar (18 per cent), Philippines (18 per cent), Kuwait (15 per cent), Indonesia (15 per cent), Ukraine (15 per cent) and Brazil (14 per cent).

“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies.”

UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4 per cent to 4.5 per cent in 2014, again above its long-term forecast of 3.8 per cent per year between 2010 and 2020. The UNWTO Confidence Index, based on the feedback from over 300 experts worldwide, confirms this outlook with prospects for 2014 higher than in previous years.

“The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth,” added Mr Rifai.

2014 regional prospects are strongest for Asia and the Pacific (5-6 per cent) and Africa (4-6 per cent) followed by Europe and the Americas (both 3-4 per cent). In the Middle East (0-5 per cent) prospects are positive yet volatile.