Turkish tourism provides bright spot for hotel developers

Pictured: rendering of Canopy by Hilton Istanbul Taksim. Image © Hilton Worldwide
In the wake of last week’s devastating earthquakes on Türkiye’s southern border with Syria, the country’s recent tourism surge could provide a ray of hope for the nation as it recovers.

According to statistics from Türkiye’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the country welcomed more than 51.4 million tourists in 2022, which is 99% of 2019’s pre-pandemic record figures of 51.8 million.

Top tourism status

Of these visitors, 44.6 million were foreign tourists, a rise of 80.3% from 2021. Within the international arrivals, Germans top the list in 2022 with nearly 5.7 million, Russians were close behind on 5.2 million, with travellers from UK, Bulgaria and Iran rounding out the top five.

In light of the latest numbers, Türkiye has become the third biggest tourism market in the world.

US$1 billion investment

This should all be music to the ears of prospective hotel developers and brands looking at Türkiye. Already scheduled in the high end of the market are at least 35 projects, comprising 5,648 keys, according to THP records.

The database estimates that a minimum of US$973 million of premium hotels investment is heading to the vast nation which straddles the European and Middle Eastern borders.

Even stars

The high end pipeline is divided fairly evenly between four and five star developments, splitting in a 52/48% ratio, respectively 18 and 17 projects.

Immediate completions are the order of the day as far as opening dates are concerned, with 2023 deliveries representing 63% of the total, equating to 22 sites. The rate seemingly vastly slows from next year with three hotels scheduled for 2024, one for 2025 and four for 2026. The remaining five have yet to be designated a delivery date.

Istanbul ahead

The tourist hub of Istanbul is proving to be a draw for hotel development too, topping the city list with at least 10 projects ongoing. Second, with half that number, is Bodrum with five, and making the podium is Bursa on two.

Active brands across the country include Kempinski Hotels & Resorts and The Ascott’s Citadines apart’hotels, with three sites each. On two apiece are Accor’s Swissotel Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Worldwide’s Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn lines.

Ones to watch

Another Hilton group signing last year, Canopy by Hilton Istanbul Taksim, meant that the company reached its 100th trading or pipeline hotel in Türkiye. Also signalling the debut of the Canopy boutique lifestyle brand in the country, the new 110-room property is expected to open in Q3 this year.

Within the IHG Hotels & Resorts group, there are 29 open hotels and four in the pipeline throughout Türkiye. A further 2022 signing, the 115-room Holiday Inn Erzurum is being developed with Rey Otel Turizm Isletmeciligi ve Ticaret A.S. The site is due to complete at the end of 2023 in the eastern Anatolian region.