Are the good old days back for Istanbul tourism?

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS BY LAW - SELENAY YAGCI

Istanbul, which has been experienci­ng a sharp decline in the last few years as Turkey’s center of tourism, is leaving the bad days behind. The number of tourists coming to Istanbul has increased again. This has also reflected in room rates. The faces of Istanbul’s hoteliers, who have been in crisis for the last three years, have begun to smile. With the increasing occupancy rates and demand, room rates in many regions in Istanbul have increased by 50 percent in the last year. Room prices for five-star hotels in Istanbul had been TRY 170 for the last two years and now the minimum price is TRY 250. The hoteliers stress that hotel investment­s have slowed or delayed for the last 2 years in Istanbul so the supply/demand balance could stay a little healthier.

When lists on online booking sites such as NeredeKal.com were checked, the average room price of TRY 170 for Istanbul last year increased by 50 percent over the last year. According to a report by the Hotel Associatio­n of Turkey and STR Global, hotel occupancy in Istanbul in March increased by 30.4 percent to 73.7 percent compared to the same period the previous year. The average daily price of a room has also increased by 9.8 percent to 74.38 euro compared to 2017. The income per room increased by 43.1 percent to 54.79 euros. In the first three months of the year, the occupancy rate rose to 68.1 percent while the average daily room price is now 71.82 euros and the per-room income has reached 48.94 euros.

Emrullah Akkaya, General Manager of Dedeman Hotels, stated that they have returned to the figures they were seeing in 2013 and 2014 in terms of occupancy in the first quarter and the number of people coming to Turkey will return to normal by the end of 2018. “The increase in demand and supply due to the occupancy rates are reflected in the increase in the prices and the increase has reached 40 percent,” Akkaya said. “If a major problem does not happen in our country, this improvemen­t will continue.”

Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) President Osman Ayik also confirmed the room price increases in Istanbul. “When there is an improvemen­t in the supply and demand balance, the prices increase. This is a natural result. There has been a recovery in the supply-demand balance due to the increase in the occupancy rate. This also positively reflected in prices. The summer months will be sold at a high price because of the high season but there will still be increases. We expect these increases to continue. We expect a 20 percent increase.”

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