Turkey is seeing increased British visitor numbers and expects the positive trend to continue into 2016, thanks to routes being launched by a host of airlines, from airports across the UK.
The country’s tourism bosses will be at World Travel Market (WTM) London 2015 – the leading global event for the travel industry – to highlight this upsurge in new airline services from the UK.
For the first five months of 2015, more than 592,000 British tourists visited Turkey, up 2.2% year-on-year. A total of 2.6 million Brits visited in 2014.
British Airways has launched Gatwick flights for this summer to Bodrum and Dalaman.
Turkish low-cost airline Pegasus Airlines has a new route from Gatwick to Istanbul, with connections to Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman and Izmir.
Pegasus also operates direct flights to Izmir and flights to Istanbul from Stansted.
Holidaymakers in the north of the UK are able to take advantage of new services from Jet2.com.
For summer 2015, the carrier is operating new services from Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle to Antalya, and next summer it will launch links from Edinburgh to Antalya and Dalaman.
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines’ service from Istanbul to Heathrow will be increased from 30 flights to 37 flights per week from October 25, 2015.
Furthermore, the upswell in visitor numbers is thanks, in part, to a favorable exchange rate – the pound has strengthened against the Turkish lira this year, so costs in resort are lower for British tourists.
There is also growing awareness of Turkey’s cultural heritage, health tourism, luxury hotels and top-class golfing facilities, according to Ali Selcuk Can, Attache for the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in London.
“We are trying to diversify the tourism products that we have, by promoting city breaks for Istanbul, and cultural tours for Cappadocia and Anatolian region,” Can commented.
“The mainstream business is still the mass market – tourists who are looking for sun, sand and sea holidays, but there is increasing demand for city breaks and culture tours.”
Can said Turkey has 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites, which range from a Mesolithic temple to the World War One battlefield of Gallipoli.
The country’s world-class golfing facilities are mainly around Belek, in the province of Antalya, where courses designed by the likes of Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie can be found.
There are a growing number of five-star hotels in Turkey, especially in the Belek area, and many are promoting their eco-friendly credentials to appeal to holidaymakers concerned about the environment.
The long-term prospects look bright too, as Istanbul’s third airport – set to be the biggest in the world – will open in 2018.
eTurboNews is a media partner for World Travel Market (WTM).