Turkey holiday bookings are surging as sun-loving Brits take advantage of the cheap deals – but can it continue?
HOLIDAY bookings to Turkey have increased by as much as 300 per cent in the last year, marking a huge surge in interest for the country.
Here, Sun Online Travel explore whether it's just a matter of a good bargain or if there's more – and whether the trend can continue.
Why Turkey fell out of favour
Turkey has been a favourite holiday destination for Brits for a long time.
With sunny weather, good food, stunning scenery and fascinating culture, it ticks plenty of boxes.
But a terror attack in June 2016 left Brits cautious and security alert high.
And then a failed coup in July 2016 saw scores of Brit tourists stranded in Turkey, and those who wanted to cancel their trips were left out of pocket.
Brits are heading back to Turkey again
While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still advises against all travel to certain areas of Turkey, and there are still terror threats, it has relaxed its advice on travel to other areas.
With that, Brits started to return to the country's idyllic beaches – last year, Brits made 2.3 million visits to Turkey.
Peter Sommer, owner of tour operator Peter Sommer Travel, who has seen over 300 per cent increase in bookings this year, said: "After several years of being completing out of favour (in 2017 we ran just one gulet cruise in Turkey, our worst for such bookings ever), Turkey appears to be making a good and steady comeback.
"We certainly don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch in terms of numbers going forwards, but the resurgence in bookings and enquiries about our trips in Turkey has been marked.”
And he's not alone.
Club Med has seen a 56 per cent sales increase in bookings to Turkey for this summer, Thomas Cook reported 27 per cent increase in flight-only bookings and Travel Zoo told Sun Online Travel that they've seen 46 per cent increase in searches on their site.
And a spokesperson for ABTA said: "Turkey saw significant growth last year and this trend has continued in 2019, with bookings for this summer through ABTA members up by over a third."
What's attracting Brits back to Turkey?
One of the biggest factors in the increase in Brits travelling to Turkey is value for money – and that comes both from the cost of holidays and the strength of the pound against the Turkish lira.
Emma Coulthurst, travel expert at Travel Supermarket told Sun Online Travel: "All-inclusive holidays are now Brits’ favourite board type for an overseas’ holiday.
"The price of all-inclusive holidays to Turkey is a key factor in its renaissance. No other destination can beat Turkey on 5* all-inclusive value.
"Turkey offers a lot more stars for your money. Nowhere else from the UK will you find 5 star, 7 night all-inclusive holiday packages from just over £250 each."
According to Emma, the interest in all-inclusive deals comes from Brexit uncertainty.
She said: "It seems that holidaymakers want to avoid potential sterling-euro volatility and 'lock in' food and drink costs."
Thomas Cook also credited the uncertainty around Brexit for Turkey's growth.
For them, it was a case of Brits looking to avoid the Euro zone as they also saw a surge in bookings to Tunisia.
Another factor is the value of the pound.
In the last couple of years, the value of the pound has fluctuated a lot and it's now relatively weak against the Euro.
But against the Turkish lira, the pound is going from strength to strength.
Last August, the lira was at an all-time low against the pound, making holidays in Turkey incredibly good value for money.
Emma Coulthurst explained: "The weakness of the lira means you get a lot for your sterling. It is possible to eat out for less than £15 for two people, for example.
"So, if you want to self-cater, eating out and drinks and other resort costs are very reasonable."
Can the trend for cheap holidays continue?
Obviously it's impossible to predict the future, but it looks like cheap holidays to Turkey will continue – at least for the foreseeable future.
There are two factors; the first is availability.
Thanks to the resurgence of bookings to Turkey, tour operators are also rushing to increase the number of holidays they offer.
Tui for example, announced earlier this week that they have added 45,000 new seats and a new regional route.
The second is competition.
European beach package holiday prices have been slashed in the recent months, and actually cost less now year on year according to Emma Coulthurst.
This is in part because of the competition from destinations like Turkey, but also because of the uncertainty around Brexit.
She added: "As a result, many companies offering packages to the likes of Spain, Italy, France and Portugal have lowered prices in a bid to tempt Brits to book there."
But in the long run, lower holiday prices in Europe can only mean cheaper holidays in Turkey if they want to compete.
And with guaranteed sun, sandy beaches and good food to boot, it's hard to see Brits turning down those bargain holiday deals.
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