At a time when the travel industry is beset by problems, Turkey stands out like a beacon in my view – and it is well positioned to continue bringing welcome growth.
Until a few weeks ago, I had never visited Turkey and it had never featured on my wish list. Like many consumers, I had mistakenly perceived it as a cheap low-quality last option.
How delighted I have been to discover how wrong I was and how passionately I now believe we as an industry can maximise on its potential. One of the key things that struck me is Turkey’s magnetism – I am sure once people have been for the first time, they will return.
It’s a process that is well underway, underlined by the 18% growth in UK visitor arrival figures for the first six months of this year.
It may be a cliché but Turkey does have something for everyone, from fantastic beaches and charming friendly people to natural beauty, historic sites… and great value.
Being outside the eurozone is obviously a major benefit at the moment but that alone will not be enough to maintain visitor numbers to Turkey for the future.
As we all know, quality is the key word these days and Turkey has great plans for an improving infrastructure. There are numerous projects in the pipeline for additional hotel and self-catering developments, as well as new roads, golf courses, marinas and other facilities that travellers from around the globe will need.
My only concerns are that the authorities do not allow over-development and that the tourist board might not be able to keep pace with the needs of the UK travel industry to effectively market the destination.
I am hopeful the first point will be covered, as other destinations’ lessons have been learnt. The jury is still out on the second one, though.