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April 5, 2022

Turkey to lead European travel market recovery amid rising living costs

The strength of various European currencies against the Turkish Lira makes the destination an attractive option for budget-conscious holidaymakers.

By Globaldata Travel and Tourism

With confidence in travel taking yet another hit amid the rising living costs across Europe, Turkey will emerge as the destination of choice for budget-conscious travellers.

Cost will be a major factor

The strength of various European currencies against the Turkish Lira makes the destination an attractive option for budget-conscious holidaymakers. Generally, this results in cheaper holidays and lower in-destination spending. This marks a significant competitive advantage for Turkey. According to GlobalData’s Traveler Spending Patterns Database, Turkey ranks significantly lower than many other rival destinations within the European leisure market, with an average inbound tourist expenditure of just $691 in 2021. This statistic was comparatively lower than competing destinations such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, and France.

This low average spending is also on trend with current consumer sentiments towards the latter part of 2021. According to a GlobalData Q3 2021 Global Consumer Survey, 58% of respondents said that cost was the primary factor when booking a holiday, making it the leading motivation for travel consumption. This could persuade many travellers to switch to Turkey, who perhaps typically book holidays to destinations like Spain or Portugal. Furthermore, research shows that in-destination spending is also considerably less in Turkey, despite the average stay for inbound tourists (9.7 days) being the second-longest in Europe, behind Russia, in 2021. Compared to the average inbound expenditure in Spain and Portugal, travellers could potentially save on average anywhere between $230 and $770 per trip.

Travel trade is firmly behind Turkey as a destination

The travel trade across Europe has provided continued support for Turkey’s recovery. In March 2022, German tour operator TUI announced that it hoped to attract approximately 1.5 million customers to Turkey by increasing its capacity to the country to 2019 levels. Furthermore, UK tour operator Jet2holidays also announced it was increasing its capacity to Turkey. The move shows that the trade has high confidence in Turkey as a leisure destination. With tour operators and travel agents competing against each other to attract tourists to the country, prices could remain relatively low, compared to other European destinations, despite the increase in energy and fuel prices.

Growth could be accelerated in the long term despite recent global events

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the rising cost of living, and the global energy crisis, Turkey’s affordability compared to other rival destinations could accelerate tourism growth in the long term. According to GlobalData’s tourism demands and flows database, inbound tourism in Turkey is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by 2024. However, looking beyond this year, growth is likely to accelerate as the budget-friendly destination has laid solid foundations during the pandemic, allowing it to be more competitive amongst its European counterparts.

While the Turkish tourism industry remains cautious about its immediate future, its market positioning puts it in one of the most advantageous positions in Europe to capitalise on the ever-growing pent-up travel demand.

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