In Fethiye, even if you are not directly involved in tourism you usually know someone who is.
So many businesses, families, whole communities are dependent financially on holiday makers visiting every summer.
There are various means of forecasting the coming season, mostly by networking with others in the industry, and one of the best ways to do this is to visit the tourism fairs – which are more for the industry than the tourists and has a wealth of experience for predicting the future when it comes to people deciding where they want to go for their holidays.
Fethiye at the World Travel Market
As a result, as soon as the summer season officially came to an end last weekend a team from Fethiye headed off to London to what is the largest travel industry show of its kind anywhere: the World Travel Market in London’s ExCel.
Our roving travel reporter Keri Jones was at this important show, microphone in hand.
Keri tracked down the Fethiye stand, where he discovered Yavuz Torunoğulları, the owner of Orka Hotels and CEO of Orka Holidays in Ovacik, who was happy to spend a few minutes giving his expert opinion on what this summer has been like for Fethiye’s tourism sector and what he expects to happen next year in our favourite part of Turkey.
A Positive View
The Fethiye businessman, who is also head of FETOB, the town’s hoteliers’ Association, was very upbeat about next season – 2016
Running the Fethiye stand and the massive UK fair for the travel industry, he took time out to tell FT that he had already spoken with companies like Thomas Cook, Jet 2 Holidays and TravelRepublic and was able to report that they were all optimistic about the coming year.
Torunoğulları also discussed the 2015 season,
They think that next year will be similar; the same kind of numbers.”
This prompted us to ask Torunoğulları what he thought about this season – 2015 – to which he replied,
It was, until the middle of the season. You know we had some security problems in Turkey and this affected the business a little bit but when we checked the statistics the numbers at Dalaman Airport looked similar; the same as the year before. We have not lost the numbers. The capacity was the same, almost the same number of guests arrived in our area this year.”
He explained that until he arrived at the WTM he was more concerned about next year but now he feels more optimistic.
We have heard some good answers [about these questions], and have learnt that there is enough potential for 2016, so we think there will be the same kind of capacity as 2015. This is good news for us. We’ll see,” he said, “but it’s looking great.”
Networking around the World Travel Market
He and his five other colleagues are in London for a few more days and during that time they have arranged meetings.
Torunoğulları said that the WTM was a great opportunity for them to speak with tour operators and agencies.
It’s important for us because it means we can make contact and meet up with everyone.”
He made it clear, when asked if people knew about Turkey, that it was going to be a busy few days.
During the last two days the stand will be busy providing information to members of the public. We are inside the Turkish stand, organised by the government [Tourism Ministry] and everybody knows we are here. We have magazines and do a lot of marketing. The massive Turkey stand met with his approval. “They have used more digital technology, TVs and screens, for example. In my opinion it is better than last year.
We suggested that part of Turkey’s ongoing popularity was the strength of Sterling and that there were plenty of good deals as a result.
We wondered whether this could continue into 2016.
Sure, 100%. And when we look at the UK it’s a very important market for us. We have almost 4 million visitors from the UK and Muğla [Fethiye, Marmaris] is the most important region, the first market. 70% of tourists visiting the UK and Ireland are from the UK. Also many people from the UK have homes in Fethiye and some live there. They invite their friends and this helps our image and our marketing, and of course the business. We really appreciate this. The UK is really very important for us.
He wasn’t able to confirm that there would be any more routes opening up through Dalaman International Airport and thought this may have had something to do with uncertainty prior to the elections, but now he says that he is sure that there will be positive news, particularly towards the end of this year.
Torunoğulları concluded by saying that he thought that next year will “definitely be better” than summer 2015.