Destination comeback

Tour operators report strong Turkey bookings

All-inclusive hotels such as the Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel are attracting German families back to Turkey.
Aqua Fantasy Aquapark
All-inclusive hotels such as the Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel are attracting German families back to Turkey.

German tour operators are enjoying strong increases in Turkey bookings as the destination hopes for a record year in 2019 after last year’s comeback.

Turkish tourism officials are hoping for new records this year following a strong recovery in 2018 as German holidaymakers regained confidence in the destination. Hüseyin Gazi Cosan, Berlin-based representative of the Turkish culture and tourism ministry, said: “I expect that we can beat the record year of 2015 with 5.6 million German visitors.”

Last year, about 4.4 million German arrivals were registered until the end of November, and about 4.5 million were expected for the year as a whole. This was a clear improvement on 2017, with 3.6 million German visitors, and 2016, with 3.9 million arrivals.

Early bookings for summer 2019 are extremely strong at present, including a 60% rise in December, according to reservations company Traveltainment. Bookings to Antalya, the main airport for the Turkish Riviera, were up by 48% last month following similar high double-digit increases in November and October, according to Traveltainment figures.

Tour operators have confirmed these trends. TUI recently said that Turkey is “in the fast lane” and the largest German tour operator has a triple-digit surge in bookings for the country, which has grown to its third most-popular destination.

Similarly, Thomas Cook said it has “significant growth” for Turkey, FTI and Schauinsland referred to “a strong performance”, and Alltours’ bookings are “above expectations”.

Turkey specialist Bentour has an 81% overall increase in bookings at present, driven by “extremely good demand for Turkey holidays”, even though average prices are 15% higher than last year, CEO Deniz Ugur said.

He explained: “Customers who avoided the destination for two years are now booking again.” In particular, these are families who are attracted by all-inclusive hotels with features such as large family rooms, children’s clubs and aqua-parks full of slides.

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