Turkey hopes to attract 5 Million German travelers with focus on ‘energy holiday’

Turkey expects to host more than 5 million travelers from Germany, Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB) Chairperson Firuz Bağlıkaya said Sunday.

His comments come after the statements from the head of the German Independent Travel Agencies Association (VUSR) stating that German retirees should take a vacation in warmer countries including Turkey during the winter months.

VUSR statements were rather an unusual suggestion in face of a possible shortage or higher energy prices amid a potential abrupt halt in Russian gas supplies in order for Germany to “save energy.”

The association suggested sending senior citizens on vacation to warmer locations during the cold season, citing Turkey, Tunisia and the Spanish tourist island of Mallorca as potential destinations.

And the government could encourage more citizens, some of which have already been spending winters in some of these locations, by subsidizing such trips, VUSR Chairperson Marija Linnhoff told the Mallorca Zeitung.

Linnhoff even proposed subsidies of up to 500 euros ($527.69) to make such trips more affordable.

Stating that middle-aged and older tourists from different countries, especially European countries, prefer destinations in Turkey, Bağlıkaya noted that they expect the holiday and travel movements of the over-middle-aged segment to accelerate if VUSR’s demand for holiday sales is subsidized by the German state is met.

The holiday and travel movements of the over-middle-aged segment are already an important tourism segment, he said, adding that Germany ranks first among the countries with a high number of elderly and retired people.

“The number of people receiving pensions in the country is approaching 26 million,” Bağlıkaya said.

Emphasizing that there is a very serious economic size based on pensions in developed countries such as Germany, Bağlıkaya said: “The spending of people in developed countries on tourism constitutes an important potential.”

He said hosting elderly tourists during the winter would keep facilities active which generally remain idle during the winter season.

The German association represents more than 7,000 travel agencies in the country.

Russian gas is vital to Europe and Germany in particular. But Berlin has come under pressure to unwind a business relationship that critics says is helping to fund Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Europe’s biggest economy aims to reduce its dependence on Russia to zero as quickly as possible but has opposed an immediate stop to imports.

Meanwhile, efforts have been underway to diversify the industry and markets, as well as to enable Turkey to make the most of the period outside summer.

The southern gem of Antalya and its surrounding regions are often preferred by German nationals, who are among Turkey’s biggest tourist sources.

Germany was Turkey’s second-biggest market last year just after Russia. Some 3.1 million German tourists arrived in Turkey last year, a 175.7% year-over-year increase from 1.1 million in 2020,overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure is still below 5 million in 2019 prior to the outbreak. Arrivals had reached a record high of around 5.5 million back in 2015.


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