Foreign tourist arrivals in Antalya slowed in the first half of May, Recep Yavuz from the Antalya City Council Tourism Working Group has said, adding that this was due to fewer visits by Russian holidaymakers.
Antalya saw a record number of foreign tourist arrivals in January, February, March and April this year. However, tourism activity appeared to have lost some momentum in May.
In the first two weeks of May, nearly 688,000 foreign tourists visited the city,which is 12 percent lower compared to the same period of 2019,” Yavuz said. “The Russian market is rather stagnant. This is the main reason behind the loss of momentum.”
The combination of higher prices and the depreciation of the Russian currency played a role in that, according to Yavuz.
“Egypt and Dubai appear to be an alternative to Antalya for Russian tourists. The elections in Türkiye, however, do not have any impact,” he added.
The local tourism industry representatives noted that a little more than 3 million Russians vacationed in Antalya last year and that the Russian tourist arrivals are expected to be around this level and not higher this year.
Yavuz noted that in 2019, Antalya welcomed 5.5 million Russian holidaymakers. “We will probably not even be close to this [figure] in 2023,” he said.
İsmail Çağlar, a manager at a local hotel, said that the problems with the Russian payment system MIR have remained unresolved. “We are charging them cash.”
Hoteliers have not made a good start to the new tourism season, he said. However, Çağlar voiced optimism that the tourism activity will gather a strong momentum after the elections and after schools close for the summer holiday.
Meanwhile, in Bodrum, another popular destination for vacationers in the province of Muğla, fewer domestic tourists visited the district, while the number of foreign holidaymakers increased in May.
Foreign tourist arrivals in the district rose by 14 percent in May from a year ago, according to Ömer Faruk Dengiz, the head of the Bodrum Hoteliers’ Association.
The market for local tourists shrank because of the elections, Dengiz said. He is also hopeful that the tourism activity in the district will pick up again after the May 28 election.