Türkiye is witnessing positive expectations in cruise tourism.
Official data showed that 2023 started fast in cruise tourism. Accordingly, with the inclusion of transit passengers in the first quarter of the year, the number of cruise passengers reached 34 thousand 112 with an increase of 14 times compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
In 2022, the total number of cruise passengers exceeded 1 million.
Following these data, sector representatives evaluated both the passenger growth and the future targets of the sector for Bloomberg HT.
“After 2023, we will host 1.5 million cruise passengers annually”
Galataport Istanbul Port Operations Deputy General Manager Figen Ayan said that the cruise market is increasing day by day and evaluated the sectoral situation as follows: The cruise industry, which was at a standstill until 2021 with the effects of the pandemic, recovered in a very short time. In 2022, we hosted a total of 150 ships of 23 shipping companies affiliated with the leading brands of the sector and 350 thousand passengers, including the crew, at our port.
We aim to host approximately 200 voyages and 400 thousand passengers and crew by the end of 2023, and to serve 31 ship companies by increasing the number of ship companies served in this direction by 35 percent. After 2023, we foresee that we will host 1.5 million cruise passengers and crews per year.
“Occupancy rates are between 90% and 100% in April”
Stating that the occupancy rates have reached almost 100 percent, Galataport Istanbul Port Operations Deputy General Manager Figen Ayan said, “While the average occupancy rate of the ships was 50% last year, we see that the occupancy rates are between 90% and 100% in April this year. These data are very promising and another indication that we have left the pandemic period behind.”
Figen Ayan, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, a tourist who comes to Turkey spends an average of 62 dollars. According to the report of the International Cruise Lines Association CLIA, he said that a hop-on hop-off passenger spent 376 dollars in the main port city.
“The years 2023-2024 will be cruise tourism”
Başaran Bayrak, Chairman of the IMEAK Chamber of Shipping and Member of the Board of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), noted that there will be a great increase in cruise tourism in 2023-2024. Stating that there was an increase of up to 300 percent in Black Sea ports, Başaran Bayrak continued his words as follows;
“In 2023, 1,500 ships and over 1.5 million passengers are expected. I don’t see any problems after the election. The organizations of the ships were done last year and finished. Cruise tourism is on the rise all over the world. There are also port development studies in Turkey that will take its share in its own right. Especially in Black Sea ports, there is an increase of nearly 300 percent. Our share in the world is not very large. About 1% of under staying. Baltic, Caribbean and Mediterranean regions take the majority of the share,” he said.
“After April, the main intensity will begin”
Aydın Erdemir, President of the Turkish Port Operators Association, said, “There was a political tension against Turkey. Ships coming to Turkey used to travel between Greece and Türkiye. Therefore, the embargoes had a negative impact on the cruise industry. Then, with the pandemic, we became one of the most affected sectors. The first ship also arrived at the end of 2020. After 2021, Galataport was very effective. Nearly 1.5 million passengers are expected in the coming period. Not bad this year though. I hope it stays that way. Although Türkiye seems cheaper than the west, the expected number has not been reached yet. Looking at the 2022 2023 comparisons of cruise ships, 60 percent come to Kuşadası port and 30 percent to Galataport. After April, the main intensity will begin.”
“I think the goals can be achieved”
Koray Şahmalı, Chairman of Icons And Styles, said, “Our expectation is that today’s figures will go better. I think that the set goals can be easily achieved. On the other hand, the occupancy rates of the ships are also quite good. Since 2016, many countries have driven Turkey out of their destinations with terrorism. International insurance companies began to not insure the ships. All these negative processes have passed. I think we can reach the 2013 figures in 2024,” he said.