Türkiye tops 2019 tourism numbers from India

Interview with Cüneyt Yavuzcan, Consul General of Türkiye
/ New Delhi
Türkiye has become one of the few destinations in the world to have exceeded the 2019 numbers of tourist arrivals from India. Türkiye is taking several measures to build the momentum further and boost the number of Indian visitors in 2023 and beyond, Cüneyt Yavuzcan, Consul General of Türkiye in Mumbai tells India Outbound.
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How was the tourism traffic from India to Türkiye in 2022?

Cüneyt Yavuzcan

Cüneyt Yavuzcan

Türkiye is a popular destination for Indian tourists and business travellers. Besides leisure travel, the number of free independent travellers (FITs), MICE groups and big-budget destination weddings destined to Türkiye have been increasing in recent years. Before the Covid-19 era, in 2019, the number of visitors from India to Türkiye was 230,000, compared to 147,000 in 2018.

Since the coronavirus struck in 2020, civil aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors were among the worst hit. However, 2022 brought with it a period of revival as travel restrictions loosened across the globe and people almost over-compensated for staying indoors for nearly two years.

Travel from India to Türkiye increased significantly after direct flights resumed at the end of March, 2022. Türkiye hosted 232,000 Indian travellers in 2022. It also hosted one of the largest MICE groups from India in November 2022, welcoming around 1,000 participants, and hosted numerous weddings of Indian couples in 2022.

Which are your key source cities in India?

Mumbai is India’s largest travel source market. As the preferred port of exit for the West and South Indian markets, it feeds more than 60 pc of India’s outbound tourist markets. Mumbai, which is the financial and commercial hub of India, is headquarters to almost all major outbound tour operators, to the corporate world of India, as well as to Bollywood-the country’s most prominent film industry. Mumbai is the most serious outbound market in India, contributing to 63 pc of MICE and business travel from India. Mumbai and South India accounts for 63 pc, Delhi 21 pc and the rest of India 16 pc for the outbound tourism and travel in India. The numbers are more or less same for travels from India to Türkiye.

Türkiye hosted 232,000 Indian travellers in 2022

Türkiye hosted 232,000 Indian travellers in 2022

What is your target for 2023? How do you intend to go there?

Türkiye’s tourism revenue hit a record USD 46.3 billion in 2022 and it attracted some 44.6 million foreign tourists in 2022. Türkiye aims to attract 60 million foreign visitors in 2023 and expects the sector to bring in USD 56 billion in revenue.

Türkiye’s tourism industry is well known for having significant advantage over its competitors due to its high-quality service and lower prices it offers. Türkiye attracts travellers from across the world for its cultural and historical sites, as well as its Mediterranean climate. Tourists come to Türkiye for a variety of reasons, including shopping, sightseeing, entertainment and medical tourism. Türkiye has long been a popular all-inclusive vacation destination.

Türkiye is fast becoming one of the major destinations for medical tourism due to low treatment prices as compared to other nations. As international travel picked up post-pandemic, Türkiye has been witnessing huge demand from corporates and travel agents. Türkiye is one of the world’s most iconic locations for destination weddings. The new İstanbul Airport’s role in improving connectivity between Türkiye and key international markets will help drive more visitors.

Türkiye is one of the world’s most iconic locations for destination weddings

Türkiye is one of the world’s most iconic locations for destination weddings

What kind of activites have you plannned in India in 2023?

The Indian travel market is at its inflection point, and is one of the fastest growing in the world. By 2025, a report by Expedia expects 13.9 million leisure departures from India. Türkiye continues its promotional activities in India through travel and tourism trade shows, advertising in trade publications, sponsoring events and giveaways, and social media and influencer marketing. New promotional strategies will give emphasis more on public relations (PR) activities. Movies production industry shall be utilised as a tool for promotions.

Do Indian visitors look at Türkiye for cruise tourism?

Cruise tourism has been in increasing demand in recent years. Parallel to the cruise tourism and passenger growth in the world, there is a significant increase in cruise tourism in Türkiye as well and Türkiye has become an important destination for cruise tourism. Türkiye is surrounded by seas on three sides and offers favourable conditions for cruise tours with its rich history, culture, nature, geographical location and climate.

Most popular cruise ports are around İstanbul, İzmir, Kuşadası, Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya, Çeşme, Sinop, Çanakkale, Bartın, Bursa, Aydın and Trabzon. Among the ports visited by tourists in 2022 Kuşadası ranks first, followed by İstanbul. They were followed by Bodrum, İzmir, Antalya and Çeşme. Located at a very strategic and convenient point with its historical, cultural and natural beauties, Türkiye is also very close to the destinations preferred by cruise ships in the Mediterranean basin. Passengers have opportunities to visit different ports and cities on a particular route.

After the opening of İstanbul Galataport, world-famous cruise companies have added Turkish ports to their routes. Galataport is a cruise port and mixed-use unit with a 1,200-metre coastline in the city centre. The site, which cost USD 1.8 billion, opened in April 2021 after being delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The port has a goal of welcoming 25 million visitors per year, including 1.5 million cruise passengers. Approximately 991 cruise ships docked at Turkish ports over the past year. The number of cruise passengers crossed 1 million.

With the Indian economy developing at a steady pace, middle class growing in number and increasingly possessing disposable incomes which could be spent on leisure activities, Indians could also take on cruise shipping in a big way. Indian outbound cruise business remains one of the most interesting and fast paced leisure travel businesses in the wide spectrum of offerings which includes Türkiye as a destination as well.

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