For four seas
Experts predict that in 2018 Turkey will receive about $ 30 billion from tourism. By 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the state, they intend to increase this figure to $ 50 billion. But half a century ago, there was virtually no tourism infrastructure in the country.
From generals to foreign investment
The territory of Turkey is washed by four seas: Black, Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean. The subtropical Mediterranean climate reigns on almost the entire coast (the coastline is 7,200 km). There are more than 1300 thermal springs, many historical sights (from Hagia Sophia, the symbol of the golden age of the Byzantine Empire, to the ruins of Troy), natural parks. However, in the 1950s it was difficult to see all this: the country lacked hotels that met international standards, and transport infrastructure.
In 1950? The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) turned to the Turkish Ministry of Education (the Ministry of Tourism will be created in the country later) with the proposal to establish a hotel management school. Ankara Otelcili Okul opened in 1961, the first set consisted of 44 students. Three years later, 100 students attended school – graduates were in great demand. The introduction of international standards in the hotel business quickly bore fruit: by 1970, the flow of tourists to Turkey had grown to 724 thousand people (3.7 times more compared to 1963).
But a real breakthrough in the tourism industry of the country occurred after 1982, with the adoption of the law on the promotion of tourism. Now the ministry of tourism could itself choose which regions to develop. The state formed, in fact, tourist enclaves – in the places chosen to accommodate the resorts, it was possible to get land for free rent for up to 49 years, preferential tariffs were set for electricity, water and gas.
Companies involved in the travel industry were exempted from a number of taxes and duties and could receive preferential loans. At the same time, the country began a transition to a free market economy; a model of public-private partnership has become key to the development of tourism. The main investors in the tourism industry were German companies. As part of the development of the tourism sector in the country, they began to build hotels, roads and airports with astonishing speed, the Turks intensively studied foreign languages. And if in the late 70s Antalya was a small town, where, except for the fishing port, there was nothing, today this city takes the second place in Turkey in terms of tourist attendance, slightly behind Istanbul. An important role in the development of the tourism sector was also played by the system of fines for hoteliers – the prospect of saying goodbye to several tens of thousands of dollars makes us closely monitor quality standards. And, of course, advertising – Turkey promoted holidays in its country through a network of tourist offices in several dozen countries.
From Germans to Russians
For a long time, the most numerous tourists in Turkey were German citizens. However, over time, the situation began to change – tourists from the countries of the former USSR, primarily Russians, began to take the leading positions. The most successful for the tourism sector in Turkey was 2014? – then $ 26 billion was transferred to the country’s budget, 36.8 million people visited the country.
And then disaster struck. Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 in Syria, a series of terrorist attacks took place in the country and an attempted coup d’etat. Turkey faced the largest outflow of foreign tourists in 17 years, hotel prices collapsed, many hoteliers were on the brink of ruin. The state of emergency, introduced in the country after an attempted coup in the summer of 2016, ceased to operate only on July 18 this year. However, the tourism industry of Turkey has already experienced a drop point. In 2016, the country was visited by 25.3 million people, but already in 2017 this figure increased to 32.4 million. Moreover, the flow of tourists from Russia is increasing – last year it reached a record high of 4.5 million. In 2016, after the ban on charter flights, a little more than 800 thousand Russians visited Turkey.
Turkey is the most popular country for recreation among Ukrainian tourists. This year, charter flights to Turkey account for 72-75% of all charter programs of tour operators operating in Ukraine. In 2017? About 1.25 million Ukrainians visited the country. And these numbers, tour operators claim, will grow.
Ahead of the planet
The Turkish government has developed the project “Tourism of Turkey 2023”, after the implementation of which the country should enter the top five countries in terms of attendance by tourists from around the world. The authorities expect that by 2023, when Turkey will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the state, the flow of tourists will reach 50 million people a year, and the annual income from tourism will be $ 50 billion. By the way, about 80 million people live in Turkey itself .