As global competition intensifies, Turkiye should think about how to use AI applications, such as ChatGPT, to lure more tourists to the country, says Erkan Yağcı, the president of the Turkiye Hoteliers’ Association (TÜROFED).
“The use of AI is spreading, which also has consequences for the tourism industry. The global tourism sector has entered a new era where AI will affect how people chose holiday destinations,” Yağcı said, noting that some tour operators are already using this technology.
In an environment where the competition among countries to attract holidaymakers is increasingly intensifying Turkiye should focus on how to use AI, he said.
“When travelers ask ChatGPT where they should go for holiday,the answer they get should not be Greece or Spain but Turkiye. We need to get ChatGPT to say it.”
Consumers’ preferences are fast changing when AI is widely used, and Turkiye should adapt to this changing environment.
“Renting houses during holiday instead of staying hotels is part of it. We cannot resolve this problem by introducing bans. Creating conditions for a fair competition should be enough to deal with it.”
Yağcı cited other reasons as to why hotel occupancy rates remained low in the past months.
Turkiye’s hotels, accommodation facilities have 1.5 million bed capacity, which is too high, he said.
“We should not talk about how to increase the bed capacity but rather how to attract tourists to destinations, such as Antalya and Muğla during low seasons.”
Global recession and inflation in source markets also had an impact as people started to prefer shorter holidays, he said.
“Room prices rose in Turkiye last year, but it did not stop tourist from coming to Turkiye because there was this phenomenon called ‘revenge travel.’”
The positive effects of revenge holiday died away in 2023, while at the same time other strong competitors, such as Spain, Greece, Italy were back in the game, Yağcı explained.