According to Europe's second largest travel operator, Thomas Cook, the hottest ticket this summer is a holiday in Turkey and it is no surprise why thousands of Britons are expected to visit in 2009.
Turkey is the ideal family holiday location. It offers a reliable climate, numerous beach resorts, good quality accommodation, water sports and land-based activities, all at a lower cost compared to western European resorts, according to an article released by Aston Lloyd Holdings Plc.
Tourist arrivals to Turkey have risen steadily over the past few years as the country has opened up and accessibility has improved. Recent figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism reported a 12 percent rise in overseas visitors, totaling 26.3 million, of which 2.17 million were from Britain and over 32 percent entered via Turkey’s tourism capital, Antalya, in 2008 compared to 2007. A further 20 percent increase in the number of British tourists is anticipated in 2009, according to an undersecretary of the Tourism Ministry.
Recognizing the importance of tourism to the burgeoning Turkish economy, the Culture and Tourism Ministry has announced longer-term strategies and ambitious aims for 2023. The ministry’s goals include the creation of seven tourist development corridors and nine cultural and tourism zones to attract 40 million visitors, in addition to an airport, 11 cruise ports, 10 tourism cities and nine marinas to be completed by 2013.
Not in the eurozone
One of the key appeals of a holiday in Turkey is affordability. The country is not part of the eurozone and hence relatively unaffected by the pound's poor performance against the euro. The Turkish Lira has reportedly fallen one-third against the dollar and one-fifth against the pound. Known as a value destination, Turkish accommodation, goods and services have remained affordable. There are numerous discounted package holidays now available, especially for those willing to book at the last minute.
And access to tourism hot spots such as Antalya on the Mediterranean coast or the Bodrum Peninsula on the Aegean coast has never been easier with direct flights offered daily from the United Kingdom by both scheduled and charter services. Due to increased demand seat-only travel operator Avro will be offering additional charter flights to Antalya during the summer season starting at the end of May. Further a field, an agreement has been reached for direct flights to commence from Canada to Turkey and Turkish carrier, Turkish Airlines, will introduce new routes this season to New York, Singapore, Johannesburg and Seoul. This increased access to the United States in particular has been much welcomed in light of the recent "Unlimited Turkey" tourism campaign operating stateside.
These positive tourism indicators for 2009 also spell good news for those with second properties in Turkey. Some 73,000 foreign nationals - mainly Britons, Germans and Greeks - own properties in the country, predominantly along the Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines, and interest in property purchases, be it for retirement, a holiday home or a buy-to-let investment, continues to be strong.
Opportunities for investors
Joseph Upchurch, managing director of real estate developer Aston Lloyd, which has a number of projects in Turkey, said: "As a company, Aston Lloyd has a great deal of confidence in Turkey and the returns we can offer our investors. Two Aston Lloyd developments are under construction with one nearing completion, which is a positive reflection on the strength of Turkey and the opportunities that exist for investors looking to make real returns in turbulent times.
Turkey is one of the top places in the world to buy property right now. We are building off the back of in-depth analysis, not speculation, which is why developments in emerging markets, such as Turkey, are still able to continue building, unlike other parts of the world which have seen projects being put on hold or pulled altogether."
Those with existing properties available to rent in key tourism locations such as Antalya are set to benefit this year as holiday villa rentals become increasingly popular. The mixture of quality accommodation in top locations as well as the flexibility of rented villas is of high appeal to families, those on extended stays or those looking for a more personalized vacation.
The undefeated former world super middleweight champion boxer and Aston Lloyd investor, Joe Calzaghe CBE, said: "When making a property investment, the main thing for me is location and value for money. I've chosen places that have a lot of tourism because you want to know you can rent it out. I've also chosen places I would want to go myself, including beautiful countries like Turkey."