The answer to a question that I had had for a while, how much the current turmoil has affected the number of incoming tourists to Turkey, was answered this week.
The number of incoming tourists crashed 40% in June and 36% in the second quarter overall. Also the number of Turkish citizens visiting other countries dropped.
Here’s what Trading Economics writes (access the entire piece here):
The number of tourist arrivals in Turkey decreased by 40.9 percent year-on-year to 2.44 million in June 2016 compared to 4.12 million in the same month of the previous year. It was the biggest drop since the series began in 1993 due to tensions with Russia and security concerns. Visitors from Russia slumped 93 percent and accounted for only 1.9 percent share, compared to a 15.8 percent share a year earlier. In the first half of the year, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey decreased by 27.9 percent to 10.74 million compared to 14.89 million in the same period of 2015, with tourist arrivals from Russia dropping 87 percent.
The Turkish Statistical Institute issued the following Press Release today:
Tourism Statistics, II. Quarter: April-June, 2016
Tourism income decreased by 35.6%
In the second quarter which is April, May and June months of 2016 tourism income decreased by 35.6% and declined to $ 4 billion 981 million 318 thousand. While 77.1% of this income (excluding GSM roaming and marina service expenditures) was obtained from foreign visitors, 22.9% was obtained from citizens resident abroad.
Visitors organise their travel individually or with package tour. While individual expenditures constituted $ 4 billion 73 million 3 thousand of the total tourism income, $ 908 million 315 thousand of tourism income was obtained by package tour expenditures.
Average expenditure of the visitors was $ 665 per capita
In this quarter while average expenditure of the foreigners was $ 602 per capita, average expenditure of the Turkish citizens resident abroad was $ 973 per capita.
Number of departing visitors decreased by 30.3%
In this quarter number of departing visitors decreased by 30.3% compared to same quarter of previous year and declined to 7 million 495 thousand 35 persons. While 84.5% of visitors was foreign (6 million 330 thousand 571 persons), 15.5% of them was Turkish citizens resident abroad (1 million 164 thousand 464 persons).
Tourism expenditure decreased by 2.1% compared to II. quarter of 2015
Tourism expenditure which is the expenditure of the Turkish citizens resident in Turkey and visited abroad, decreased by 2.1% compared to same quarter of previous year and declined to $ 1 billion 509 million 693 thousand. While $ 1 billion 170 million 772 thousand of total expenditures was individual expenditures, $ 338 million 920 thousand of tourism expenditures was package tour expenditures.
Number of Turkish citizens visited abroad decreased by 17.3%
In this quarter number of Turkish citizens visited abroad decreased by 17.3% compared to same quarter of previous year and declined to 2 million 35 thousand 818. Average expenditure was $ 742 per capita.
The drop of the Russian visitors is explained by the diplomatic spat between the two countries that resulted in the shooting down Russian fighter jet by the Turkish army. Apparently this issue has been resolved now.
You have to remember that tourists are volatile. The recent terrorist attacks around Turkey and the coup attempt earlier this month will have an effect for some time. As long as there are no more disruptions, people tend to forget these issues in few months time.
This must cause issue for Turkish Airlines as well. If one feels uncomfortable about the situation in Istanbul and Turkey in general, why would they book on TK even when their price would be competitive?
If one is not uncomfortable with possible disruptive events, this is very good time to visit Istanbul. The hotel occupancy rates are down as are the rates. I was in the city last time in May and the paid rates were down more than 50%.