Antalya is attracting more and more Iraqi Kurdish visitors, according to sector professionals. Hoteliers have already started calling them the ‘new Russians’
The number of Iraqi Kurds coming to Antalya on holiday
increased 41 percent in the first six months of the year, as air carriers such
as Turkish Airlines and Atlasjet directed their planes from Arbil to the southern
Hoteliers in Antalya have dubbed the Iraqi Kurds the “new
“Antalya has earned a new tourist mass. Northern Iraqis
flock to the Mediterranean for holiday. Air carriers have seen the potential in
Arbil and Iraqis are transported to Antalya with Istanbul connected flights,”
said Başaran Ulusoy, the president of the Association of Turkish Travel
The total number of tourists coming to Antalya exceeded 5
million in the first seven months of 2012.
“Nearly 350,000 Iraqi tourists came to Turkey in 2011, but
the figure exceeded 190,000
in the first six months of the year and kept increasing
in July and August. The figure is estimated to double by the end of the year.
The number of Iraqi tourists has been steadily rising since 2009, when it was
250,000. We expect a record figure this year,” Ulusoy said.
Officials from national flag carrier Turkish Airlines said
the number of people who prefer to holiday in Turkey is rising fast.
“Too many tourists have started to come to Turkey,
particularly as Antalya-bound flights commenced. There are almost no free seats
for the eid ul fitr [Şeker Bayramı] and ticket prices have increased. Antalya
is one of the holiday resorts that Iraqi tourists favor very much. Antalya is
preferred most in connected flights,” a Turkish Airlines source said.
Atlasjet Chairman Murat Ersoy said they have witnessed a
nearly 90 percent occupancy rate in flights to Arbil.
“We may say sweltering weather in Ramadan has pushed
Iraqis to Turkey where they take a vacation in various spots in Turkey.
[Northern Iraq] has become an important market for us. We will try to lure more
tourists,” Ersoy said.(hurriyetdaily)
prosecutors at Civitavecchia for causing alarm at the
airport. Inquiries are continuing.
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