Report: European Turks less keen in homeland holidays

The number of Turks living in the EU reached 5.4 million this year. (Photo: Cihan, Kadri K l )

The number of Turkish expatriates living in Europe1 and spending their holidays in Turkey dropped significantly, from 2.7 million in 2014 to 1.9 million in 2015, a decrease that shows the declining appeal of the country for Turks2 living abroad.

The Turkish-European Foundation for Education and Scientific Studies (TAVAK) released on Sunday its yearly tourism3 survey in which it polled some 1,450 Turks living in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria. The number of European Turks paying a visit to their homeland fell by some 800,000 this year, edging only slightly above its 2012 figure of 1.8 million. Such visitors numbered 2.3 million in 2013 and 2.7 million in 2014. The number of Turks living in the 28 EU countries reached 5.4 million this year.

The survey also revealed a decrease in the average length of time spent in Turkey, down from 29 days to 24, and noted that Turks are also spending less when in Turkey. In recent years, the average amount spent by European Turks per person per visit to the country was 1,100 euros in 2012, 1,170 euros in 2013, 1,320 euros in 2014 and is only 980 euros this year. The total figure for the respective years amounted to 1.98 billion euros, 2.69 billion euros, 3.46 billion euros and 1.86 billion euros. As to what prompted the decline in spending and travel, the survey noted that many expats under 35 are traveling elsewhere, particularly to Spain, Italy and the US, and that the elderly are often obliged to travel less due to worsening economic conditions.

A polarized socio-political environment also contributed to the decrease in the number of expats coming Turkey, the survey pointed out. In 2015, Turkey went through two parliamentary election campaigns, during which politicians explicitly targeted supporters of other political parties and those of different ethnicities, beliefs and lifestyles. The report also said Turks are no longer coming to see neighbors or relatives as often, but rather to spend time in touristic spots, like stanbul, Bodrum, Antalya, Marmaris and e me.

The number of foreign visitors to Turkey has declined from 30 million in 2014 to 29.76 million in the year to date, according to Turkish Association of Travel Agents (T RSAB) data. Tourism revenue slid 6.6 percent in the same period to a total of $24.89 billion, Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) data revealed. At this time last year, that figure was $26.63 billion.

Amid escalated violence and tension surrounding two general elections this year, foreign embassies in Turkey issued several travel warnings to their citizens.


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