Turkiye: City hotels preparing for busy winter season

City hotels that were among the most affected businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic are recovering fast and are now preparing for a busy winter season.

In October, occupancy rates at city hotels surpassed the 2019 levels. Data suggest that city hotels in Istanbul have recorded higher growth than those in European cities. Meanwhile, demand for those hotels in Turkiye’s largest city from high-income vacationers is on the rise.

The occupancy rate at Istanbul’s hotels was 74.4 percent in the first nine months of 2022, up from the occupancy rate of 74.1 percent in the same period of 2019. The occupancy rate across Turkiye during the January-September period was 66.9 percent, up from 67.7 percent in the first nine months of 2019.

“We are expecting a high occupancy rate in December due to the Christmas holiday and New Year’s celebrations,” said Mustafa Bulmuş, the general manager of W Istanbul, adding that his hotel mostly serves guests from the U.S. and Europe.

Group travel, which plunged during the pandemic, is back to the market and helped push the occupancy rate to 70 percent in the 2022 season, observed Ahmet Antepli, the general manager at Address Hotel in Istanbul.

Antepli agrees that the tourism activity will be strong throughout December and said that demand from the Middle Eastern countries is expected to pick up after the World Cup ends on Dec. 18.

The war affected tourist arrivals from Ukraine, but the number of Russian visitors is above the previous year’s level, said Orkun Petekçi, COO of Elite World Hotels & Resorts.

This year, some 25 percent of their guests were local tourists and others from the Gulf countries,Germany, the U.S. and the U.K, he said.

Some 13.4 million foreign tourists visited Istanbul in January-October, accounting for 34 percent of foreign tourist arrivals in Turkiye. In October alone, the city welcomed 1.6 million foreign holidaymakers.


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