Tourists decline in numbers and spend less when they do come

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY -

Tourism has struggled to recover, even if there are occasional bright spots. It doesn’t help that we cannot stop shooting ourselves in the foot. The most recent example is an order from the Antalya governor in late April that appears to bar the consumptio­n of alcohol in public spaces.

There is some debate whether the order amounts to a ban, but pronouncin­g it with much fanfare is counterpro­ductive. If al- cohol consumptio­n is disturbing the peace, then steps can be taken. But it is difficult to explain the timing of the statement when the tourism industry, already in distress, does not need another controvers­y.

Tourism is not going well. The number of arrivals last year was below those in 2015, and this year looks set to be worse than 2016. It is hard to see any developmen­t that can reverse the trend going forward.

If the number of tourists in the first quarter does not appear too far below the same period in 2016, it is due to arrivals from two countries, Bulgaria and Georgia, which ranked second and third in the number of foreign tourists. They spend an average of about $200 per visitor.

Tourists spend less than before

The largest number of tourists were Iranians, who spend about $1,000 per person. German tour- ists, who spend an average of $600 to $650, were fourth, and Russians were fifth, spending about $500 to $550.

The average expenditur­e by tourists in the first quarter was $637 – the lowest rate in recent years. In the first quarter of 2012, tourists spent an average $746; in the same period of 2013, it was $851. In 2014 it was $877, in 2015 it was $884, and in 2016 it was $717.

Turks living abroad do not spend as much on tourism as foreigners.

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