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BLOG Turkey's rapidly growing Halal tourism sector

25 August 2018 / Lifestyle

Halal Tourism in Turkey

Turkey now ranks as the third most popular halal tourism destination in the world after Malaysia and Indonesia. It takes a 2% share of this rapidly growing $226 billion industry having quadrupled its halal tourist numbers in just 5 years.

According to a recent report in the Financial Times, The Hilton Hotel Group, which has 90 western style hotels in Turkey, reported a 62% increase in hotel occupancy from guests from the Persian Gulf and Iran this year. This, coupled with a new wave of accommodation options geared specifically towards Islamic tourists, leaves Turkey with a foot firmly on the Muslim tourist map - Turkey's affordability, excellent transport links and similar religious values make it a highly desirable destination for any Muslim holidaymaker.

Halal Tourism in Turkey

Recent years has seen Turkey cement relations with the Gulf and Middle East. Arabs are now turning towards Turkey and investing heavily in business, Turkish real estate or choosing the country as their family holiday destination. A new influx of 'Halal concept' hotels i.e. resorts offering segregated pool and spa facilities, prayer rooms, Halal food and an alcohol-free environment, is boosting popularity. Aegean resorts such as Bodrum and Marmaris, and Mediterranean destinations such as Fethiye, Antalya and Alanya now home many halal concept hotels, be they budget family run affairs or luxury all-inclusive with five stars golf and sporting facilities, single sex beaches and spas. Many resorts once aimed at the beer swilling Europeans have changed tact to now offer facilities in line with Islamic beliefs. Turkey boasts many natural advantages for the Muslim traveller; a growing number of city and coastal airports run direct flights to Gulf and Middle East, there's no end of historic and religious attractions, restaurants serve excellent halal cuisine, and the locals shared religious beliefs mean mosques are easily found in every town, village and resort.  

Tourism in Turkey is changing

The Turkish government's aim to diversify tourism sectors is paying off, the country no longer is simply a European and British destination. Halal tourism is just one area of growth, the likes of medical tourism is also a huge sector. Istanbul International Health Association said 700,000 medical tourists received surgeries of a traditional or cosmetic nature in 2017, they expect 100,000 more this year. The number of Chinese and Asian tourists is also on the rise with 2018 declared "Turkey tourism year" in China. The Turkish Ambassador to Beijing stated just last week that Turkey has already welcomed 97% more Chinese this year compared to last. Winter and adventure tourism are also being promoted and receiving positive bookings as a result, as are cultural and religious tours - all steps to ensure Turkey creeps ever closer to its ambitious aim to host over 50 million tourists by 2023, the republics centennial.

Halal tourism and real estate in Turkey

The increase in holidaymakers from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait is certainly boosting sales of city and coastal real estate in Turkey. The country's economic struggles have ensured favourable exchange rates against the US Dollar leaving daily life in Turkey and a property in Istanbul or private villa in Antalya extremely affordable.

"It's now possible to purchase a great bargain property in Turkey if you move quickly", suggests Tolga Ertukel, Director of Turkey Homes. "The fall in value of the Turkish lira has left many properties in Turkey available at favourable prices - in some cases up to 20% cheaper than the list price last month. We are receiving far more hits to our website and booked a lot more property viewings since Trump’s Twitter announcement. There is also a noticeable rise in interest from those from the Gulf. Our Arabic speaking staff have received a lot more enquiries on investment properties in Istanbul, and our coastal offices are also busy, especially with regards to viewings of private villas in Antalya and Alanya, both popular locations for Muslim investors".  

Turkish real estate purchases to foreigners rose 65.6% year on year in July according to official statistics released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). The majority of sales were to Muslims from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, accounting for 1,287 of the 2,858 foreign purchases. The stats support Tolga's comments with apartments in Istanbul accounting for most of the units sold to Muslim investors, although Antalya also fared well no-doubt partly due to its popularity with halal concept holidaymakers and the resort’s superb range of Muslim friendly facilities. Turkey is now a popular choice for Islamic investors keen to purchase a second or holiday home abroad, and the wealth of private properties in Turkey ensure there's lots of choice on offer.

If you would like to know more about property in Turkey or to speak to one of our trained consultants, please contact Turkey Homes.

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