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    Türkiye upbeat on tourism growth for 2023

    ANKARA (XINHUA) – Turkish tourism officials and industry insiders are optimistic about the country’s tourism growth in 2023, as they believe a robust rebound in tourism this year and a weak currency will add momentum to the sector’s growth next year.

    In a speech delivered at the Turkish Parliament on December 8, Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said Türkiye aims to attract 60 million foreign visitors next year and expects the tourism sector to bring in USD56 billion in revenue.

    “We are revising our year-end target for 2022 to 51.5 million visitors and USD46 billion in revenue,” he said. The figures were slightly up from an official target set in October, when officials estimate that the country would have welcomed 50 million foreign tourists and generated USD44 billion in tourism revenue by the year-end.

    According to official data released in late October, the number of foreign visitors climbed 88.1 per cent year-on-year to reach 39.61 million in the first 10 months of this year, almost matching the pre-pandemic level of 2019, when 45 million foreign tourists travelled to Türkiye.

    “The year of 2022 is especially a good one for the Turkish tourism industry. Occupancy rates were over 90 per cent in most resorts,” said German tourism giant TUI’s representative in Türkiye Kaan Sahinalp.

    “This year is uplifting in terms of tourism revenues for the years ahead. If Türkiye continues on its road of sustainability, the future looks bright,” he said in a recent interview.

    Tourists walk near Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. PHOTO: XINHUA

    Moreover, Türkiye’s weakened currency will also make the country’s tourism sector more competitive, analysts said.

    The Turkish currency lira lost about 70 per cent of its value against the greenback since last year. USD1 now is equivalent to TRY18.69, compared to around TRY8 in September 2021.

    Despite the tourism sector in countries such as Türkiye has witnessed a strong recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned in a report in early December that the post-pandemic rebound in tourism is at risk of slowdown as the global economy loses momentum by the energy shock triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, high inflation, and weakened household purchasing power.

    Global tourism is not expected to recover until 2024 or 2025, or even later, the report added.

    Türkiye should continue to diversify its tourism industry in order to attract more tourists who are interested in cultural and historical excursions, said Sahinalp.

    According to Zafer Alkaya, a hotel manager in the Antalya region along Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast, the country’s tourism industry has a significant advantage over its competitors due to its high-quality service.

    “It is time to turn the advantage into a tourism success in 2023,” he said.

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