ISTANBUL: Local hoteliers and tourism associations have welcomed the Turkish government’s decision to extend the Ramadan holiday in early June to nine days, saying this could prove a boon to the industry and generate an additional 3 billion Turkish Lira income for the sector.
The Ramadan holiday was initially scheduled for June 3 (half day) and June 6 this year, however the government announced last week that public servants will be on administrative leave from June 3 to June 7, effectively extending the holiday to nine days, including the weekends before and after the religious festivity.
Many private sector employees are also expected to hit the road during the extended holiday.
“In the upcoming Ramadan holiday, we are expecting some 2 million locals to be on the move and 3 billion liras of additional revenue to be generated from this mobility,” said FiruzBağlıkaya, the president of Turkish Travel Agencies Union (TÜRSAB).
Kuşadası, Bodrum, Didim, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya and Alanya will be the main destinations for holidaymakers during the Ramadan holiday, according to Bağlıkaya.
Executives of other tourism associations joined Bağlıkaya in welcoming the extended holiday as a strong boon to the industry.
“The earlier the government announces the changes into the holiday schedule, the better. Because people can make their holiday plans in advance,” Osman Ayık, the president of the Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Business volume in the industry already increased by some 20 percent after the government announced its decision regarding the Ramadan holiday,” he added.
The extended break will definitely give impetus domestic tourism activity, according to ErkanYağcı, the president of the Union of Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB).
“We already have strong demand from foreign tourists, but the government’s decision will give a boost to domestic tourism,” he added.
Yağcı noted that occupancy rates are expected to exceed 90 percent at the hotels located on the country’s coastal regions during the extended holiday.
“But all the regions of the country will feel the positive impact of the increased domestic tourism activity,” he added.
Meanwhile, a technology and tourism firm head has said that Turkey’s tourism revenues could reach $100 billion by 2023 with the digitalization of tourism companies.
“We should promote our tourism sector in a proper way, we have to raise tourism revenue per visitor from $670 to $1,000,” RamazanBecer, the head of digital technology and tourism firm CRM Group, told the news service.
Turkey can host tourists from high income groups by taking steps in the tourism sector to ensure customer satisfaction, Becer said.
He underlined that the digital transformation of tourism companies would provide better marketing opportunities and more customer satisfaction.
Turkey hosted around 39.5 million visitors and earned $29.5 billion revenue last year. The country targeted to host 50 million tourists in 2023.