Families drive Turkey comeback

European tour operators are continuing to see very high bookings for Turkey this summer thanks to strong demand from price-conscious families.

Bookings for Turkey have soared since late last year as European consumers regained confidence in the destination after two years of slumping sales. Package holiday bookings to Antalya, for example, have shown high double-digit growth rates in recent months, including an 86% rise in April, according to figures from reservations provider Traveltainment.

TUI announced last week that Turkey is the clear winner among summer destinations this year. Its bookings for the destination are up by 80% at present, leaving sales revenues almost twice as high as last year in absolute terms.

Other tour operators have similar high growth, too, as families flock back to the Eastern Mediterranean destination. Most firms had already increased flight and hotel capacity ready for a strong comeback.

Öger Tours, Thomas Cook’s Turkey specialist brand, has “very positive” bookings with a double-digit increase compared to last year, said product manager Altan Tarakci. He expects this trend to continue.

Bentour Reisen, another specialist, had a dramatic increase of 165% in the first 2-3 months of this year thanks to strong early bookings. Its average price per person has risen from €600 to €720 and average length of stay from 9.3 nights to 10.1, indicating a return of family customers.

DER Touristik has “very satisfactory” growth rates, although demand is still driven by price, according to product manager Nils Lübbe. Alltours’ customer numbers for Turkey this summer have doubled so far, with high volumes for the region around Antalya, while rival Schauinsland-Reisen has a 50% increase in sales.

Meanwhile, FTI’s position as the leading German tour operator to Turkey appears to have been confirmed by figures for incoming agency customer numbers last year, from market researchers Turizmdatabank.

These show that FTI’s incoming agency Meeting Point increased its share of the Turkish market in terms of German guests to 22.3% last year. In comparison, second-placed Tantur (TUI) dropped slightly to 15.7% but overtook Diana Travel (Thomas Cook), whose share fell more strongly to 13.9%. The next-largest agencies were Summer Tour (Schauinsland-Reisen), which rose from seventh to fourth place, and DER Touristik/DTS, which dropped from fourth to fifth place.

The three largest incoming agencies overall, in terms of guests from all source markets, were OTI Group, TUI Group and Anex Tour, according to the Turizmdatabank figures.