Russian tourists replacing German ones on Turkeys south coast

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Add Date : 25.01.2011 10:40

Changing economic and political dynamics across the world are reflected by tourism statistics on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. While the number of German tourists, who once ranked first on the list, has shrunk in recent years, the number of Russian tourists has shown a substantial increase. Some radical changes to the Turkish tourism sector are coming, say sector representatives
Serious capital accumulation is enabling more and more Russian tourists to come to Turkey, especially Antalya, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. AA photo
Turkey’s Mediterranean tourism destinations are increasingly popular with Russian tourists, who are now traveling to Turkey in greater numbers than any other nationality.
The changing economic and political situations throughout Europe, especially those that have occurred in the last five years, have oriented Turkey’s popular tourism destinations into looking at new markets with different needs, expectations and income levels, according to tourism officials. Among these markets, the number of tourists from Russia and Kazakhstan is constantly increasing.
However, while the number of tourists arriving from the north may be increasing, the number coming from traditional customer bases such as Germany are declining. According to data obtained from the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Antalya Directorate, from 2004 to 2010 the number of German tourists visiting Antalya decreased by 15 percent.
German tourists in decline
The German market had its heyday along the Mediterranean coast in 2004 with a total of more than 2.5 million tourists visiting Europe’s southern shores, representing approximately 42 percent of total tourist numbers on the coast.
However, 2005 saw the start of a continuous decline in the number of German’s visiting the Mediterranean. The approximate number of German tourists currently on the Mediterranean accounts for 27 percent of total visitors to the coast.
“It is still a good percentage. Turkey still keeps its leadership in the market,” Hüseyin Çoksak, tourism investor, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in a recent interview.
The deteriorating economic situation in Germany following its transition to the euro in 2002, hardships in collecting on European customs and uncertainty deriving from successive bankruptcies in the eurozone have left the Turkish tourism sector with no choice but to turn to alternative markets that are more stable, Çoksak said.
Sevim Erinç, a partner in a local travel agency, agreed with Çoksak on the need to find new markets, adding that Turkey has been making serious investments in the sector since the 1980s and is now redirecting its attention to attracting tourists from other parts of the world.
“The coming term will see changes in the sector, such as more involvement from tourists from Far Eastern countries,” she said.  
Russians on the rise
According to the recent news in the daily Hürriyet’s Mediterranean supplement, the Russian market has radically changed the face of the tourism sector in just five years.
With the proportion of tourists coming to Turkey from Russia having increased from 17 to 27 percent, Russian tourists now constitute the largest percentage of guests.
A source from a leading travel agency catering mainly to the Russian market told the Daily News on condition of anonymity that serious capital accumulation in Russia, coupled with Russian people’s interest in finding new experiences bring them to Turkey – and especially to Antalya.
“Airlines that set direct flights to and from Antalya to different cities in Russia play a crucial role in spurring this need,” the source said, adding that there were similarities in the holiday mentalities of both Turks and Russians. Tuesday, January 11, 2011
BETÜL ÇAL
ANTALYA- Hürriyet Daily News