Turkish Airlines seeking to bring more tourists from Asian nations

Turkish Airlines is working to attract more tourists from 10 Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia to help give a boost to Turkiye’s tourism revenues, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee Ahmet Bolat has said.

Travelers from South Korea, Japan and China differ from conventional tourists as they are mostly interested in cultural tourism, Bolat, who traveled to Seoul and Japan to attend events to promote Turkiye, told reporters on route.

“Around 75 percent to 80 percent of passengers on this plane are transit passengers, returning to their countries after visiting Europe. We should reverse this. Because transit passengers’ contribution to the Turkish tourism industry is negligible,” he said.

Bolat also noted that tourists from Far East countries are big spenders, saying that the tourists from those nations spend more than $3,000 on average when visiting Turkiye.

“We have identified 10 countries as our target markets: Singapore, [South] Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia. In the west, the U.S. and Canada are on our radar. Australia also has a huge potential.”

Turkiye should attract at least 1 million tourists from each of those 10 nations, he added.

“We should aim to host 10 million tourists from those 10 countries and generate $30 billion in revenues,” Bolat said, recalling that last year 50 million tourists vacationed in Turkiye, and tourism revenues amounted to $42 billion.

The number of Korean tourists visiting Turkiye declined from 200,000 in the peak years to around 90,000 to 100,000 in 2022 while at one point 200,000 Japanese tourists traveled to Turkiye but last year only 30,000 Japanese visited the country,Bolat noted.

“Some 30,000 tourists came to Turkiye from Singapore, which is a high-income country.”

Turkish Airlines flies to 129 countries in five continents with a fleet of 421 jets from its hub in Istanbul and it will launch flights to Australia starting from December, according to Bolat.

He also said that the flag carrier is the largest service exporting company in Turkiye with its service export revenues totaling to $15.5 billion. “This year’s target for service exports is $18 billion.”

Turkish Airlines has flights to 47 airports in the Far East and Asia.

Some 25 percent of its revenues in the first quarter of 2023 came from operations in the Far East, while the Far East accounted for 14 percent of all passengers on the international routes, showed a presentation on the company’s website.

In the first quarter, the carrier’s total revenues grew by 42.7 percent from a year earlier to $4.35 billion.


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