Experts from the Aeroclub company conducted a study of flights and hotels booked by business representatives in Turkey before the pandemic and two years later and found out how the demand for air tickets to this country has changed, whether Turkey remains a popular MICE destination, and in which hotels business travelers prefer to stay.
The study showed that the share of flights to Turkey in the total number of international air tickets purchased by business travelers shows a positive trend: before the pandemic, it was 5%, in 2020 and 2021 – 8% and 7%, respectively, and in 2022 increased to 11% . However, despite the growing demand for air tickets in this direction among business tourists, which amounted to 167% compared to 2021, it decreased by 40% compared to the “pre-pandemic” 2019 indicators.
Experts noted that 12% of all air tickets to Turkey in 2022 were purchased by business travelers in a business class cabin. In recent years, Istanbul has been the most popular among business representatives; 77% of business tourists have gone to this city since the beginning of 2022, as well as Antalya (14%) and Izmir (5%).
Most often in 2022, employees of IT and telecom companies went to Turkey – the demand for air tickets among representatives of this sector of the economy increased by 179% compared to 2019, and by 345% compared to last year. Representatives of the extractive, manufacturing and energy industries have become 24% more likely to travel to Turkey compared to “pre-pandemic” indicators and twice as often as last year. In the first five months of 2022, retailers increased the number of flights to Turkey by 79% compared to 2019 and by 614% compared to 2021.
In 2022, for the first time, Turkish Airlines became the leader in terms of the number of business travelers transported to Turkey, flights of the national Turkish carrier accounted for 56% of all tickets to this country. Aeroflot purchased 26% of air tickets, while Pegasus Airlines transported 4% of business travelers to Turkey.
In addition, Turkey is popular with business travelers as a transfer hub, with its importance growing over the years due to covid restrictions and air travel closures. For example, in pre-Covid 2019, the share of those business travelers who continued to fly to third countries was 13% of all air tickets purchased to Turkey. In 2021, the share of such flights increased to 48%, and in 2022 it was 59%. Most often in 2022, business representatives traveled through Turkey to France, Italy, Israel, Greece and Spain.
“Now Turkey is in undeservedly low demand as a MICE destination, however, like all foreign locations, however, business is showing interest in holding events in this country in August-September. In 2019, 9% of all foreign business events took place in Turkey, and last year the share of MICE events increased to 13.5%,” said Denis Matyukhin, CEO of Aeroclub.
The demand for Turkish hotel infrastructure from Russian business representatives exceeded the pre-pandemic 2019 figures by 54% and increased by 69% compared to 2021. The average stay of business tourists has also increased from two to three nights. The average cost that representatives of Russian business paid per night in hotels in Turkey increased by 64% over two years and amounted to 11,800 rubles (47% by 2021).
Most often in 2022, representatives of Russian business stayed in five-star hotels – they accounted for 45% of all nights booked in Turkey. Business travelers spent 35% and 10% of their nights in four and three star hotels, respectively. Uncategorized properties, which include flats and apartments, accounted for 10% of nights spent by business travelers in Turkey.
Business travelers from Russia spent the most nights in 2022 in hotels in Istanbul (70% of the total number of nights), Antalya (8%) and Sakarya (7%). At the same time, representatives of the mining, manufacturing and energy industries (22%), employees of financial and consulting companies (22%) and represented IT and telecom companies (17%) most often in 2022 booked rooms in hotels in Turkey.