Ankara, April 28, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Manolis Kostidis
14 golf courses, 350 5-star hotels, 14 million tourists
Erdogan inaugurated the EXRO 2016 organised in the city
Drop in tourism – The Russians nowhere to be found
On the occasion of the inauguration of the Expo 2016 in Antalya at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism of Turkey, we visited the region and found that Turkey has invested heavily in infrastructure to develop its tourism industry.
With 350 5-star hotels, 14 golf courses and approximately 14 million tourists, the city of Antalya is in itself the most important tourist destination and contributes with several billion euros to the country’s economy. This year tourism is suffering due to the crisis in the Moscow-Ankara relations, with the decline in Russian tourists exceeding 70%. There is also a smaller decrease in foreign arrivals due to terrorist attacks, with tourism operators hoping to make up for it in the summer.
Antalya EXPO – a EUR 600 mln investment
The EXPO 2016 Antalya, hosted by Turkey, was inaugurated last week for the first time, the president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The exhibition is titled “Flowers and Children” and the theme is focused on four areas: history, biodiversity, sustainability and “green” cities.
Within just two days, the EXPO welcomed 70,000 visitors.
According to the program of EXPO 2016 Antalya, there will be many concerts within the next few months.
The investment to build this huge exhibition space cost about EUR 600 mln. In the exhibition, which will be hosted until October, will be exhibited botanical gardens and for this reason around the site have been planted 25,000 trees and plants.
In the site there is a convention center for 6500 people and two more auditoriums with the capacity to accommodate 5800 people.
Antalya “The Mallorca” of Turkey
In any case, Antalya, with beaches which length exceeds 100 km, is the “number one” tourist destination of Turkey.
In August 2015, the total number of landings and take-offs at the city’s airport reached 998 aircrafts within 24 hours! The international airport is equivalent to Istanbul’s and all the infrastructure in the city is proof that the Turkish government is placing importance to the development of tourism and encourages tourism investment in every way.
The population of Antalya, which took its name from the King of Pergamum Attalus, in 1980 did not exceed 300,000 persons, while now has reached approximately 1.5 million due to this rapid growth.
In the last decade, Ankara has been granting public land with long term rental up to 99 years and investors literally build hotels “palaces”, which number today exceeds 350.
Turkey, like all tourist countries give importance to the history of the region, in which until 1922 lived 13,000 Greeks.
In Antalya one can visit the ancient greek city of Perge, the ancient theater of Aspendos and many other attractions.
But the Turks do not stay there and have grown the tourist season to 10 and even 12 months.
So there are 14 golf courses in the area from the 24 courses in the whole of Turkey. They are being built next to specific hotels that attract the interest of high economic level visitors. According to estimates, the construction of a golf course alone requires an investment of at least 10 million euros, excluding cost of the land purchase. Coupled with the hotels built next to the courts, the investments made in Antalya are impressive.
1500 football clubs visit Antalya
Many of the hotels also have training centers for football teams. Every December and January 1500 foreign teams from the 1st and 2nd division all over the world go to Antalya to make their winter preparation when their leagues stop. During that time, the weather in the city is ideal and the temperature is around 10-15 degrees Celsius. In combination with its infrastructures, Antalya is considered an ideal destination for European football teams.
This year the prices in hotels, most are all inclusive, are dropping by between 5 and 10%, due to reduced arrivals of foreigners and if the decrease in arrivals throughout 2016 remained at -10% hoteliers say they would be satisfied.
However, investments continue unabated and by 2018 are expected to be inaugurated 30 more 5-star hotels.