Antalya Airport, CONNECT’s Hosts for 2020, will be welcoming delegates with a big smile, given the results the team have been delivering recently.
Since a dip in fortunes in 2016, the airport’s traffic figures have rebounded considerably. Egemen Ateş, assistant manager, aviation marketing for the operating company, Fraport TAV Antalya Airport (FTA), outlines the growth in traffic for the past three increasingly successful years. “Starting from 2017, Antalya has seen a quick recovery period in terms of international traffic, especially from Russia and Europe. Not only the airport operator, but also the hoteliers and tour operators have taken strategic measures to welcome back the ‘melt away’ millions,” he explains.
“In 2017, the total international passenger traffic recovered by 7 million – from 12 million to 19 million. The trend continued in 2018 with a further 6 million increase, enabling Antalya Airport to welcome more than 25 million international passengers for the first time in its history.
“Again in 2019, the figures show that international passenger traffic in Antalya just keeps on growing with a rise of 15%, which is the result of fruitful cooperation between the airlines/tour operators and the airport operator,” Ateş emphasises.
Lessons were learned quickly from the brief traffic drop, Ateş freely admits. “That dip in 2016 taught the airport operator that the most constructive long-term measures would be investing more on increasing the diversity of our source markets and securing more scheduled year-round services,” he recalls. “To do so, FTA has been applying concrete marketing support programmes – a Winter Marketing Support Program and a Long-Haul Marketing Support Program – over the past two years. In addition to the incentive programmes, other marketing activities/summits/destination marketing events are being held and planned, especially for the MENA (Middle-East/North Africa) region.”
The focus on the MENA region for events is interesting. A quick scan of the airport’s website shows that its location attracts travellers from the north (Russia, Ukraine, Poland), the west, (UK, Germany) and east (Kazakhstan, Israel). So it is understandable that FTA wants to add possibilities of attracting more travellers from the south – the MENA countries. Ateş expands on how each region is doing this year. “As of the end of August 2019 (year to date), the Russian and German markets together have brought more than half of our international passengers. After having a record year in the Russian market in 2018, we still see a concrete growth in that market with a 15% rise in traffic through to the end of August compared to same period in 2018. Growth is even bigger in German market at 19% until 31 August this year,” he reports.
“On top these two giants, we are having pleasing growth rates in other big markets. The most promising growth comes from Poland with 51%, UK with 22% and Netherlands with 18%. However, the uncertainty caused by Brexit will continue to affect our growth for the UK market in upcoming seasons. Also, the stability and regained safety/trust perception may lead to increased traffic from the more developed countries of Europe,” Ateş adds.
“In the MENA region, we are targeting a variety of markets including Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Oman. Despite the short vacation period of Islamic Countries, we are engaging on many marketing activities to showcase the shoulders of our Summer Season as a real potential for MENA countries. We believe Antalya has plenty of room to attract tourists from the region with its perfect infrastructure for families.
“In addition to the countries mentioned above, Antalya has a generous marketing support budget for long-haul destinations such as India and China,” Ateş confirms. “Starting from 2018, we have been supporting any direct flights to India from Antalya and keep on investing in potential direct scheduled services between Antalya and Indian cities.”
A series of movies promoting Antalya as a destination support the work of the route development team. The project is “Antalya – Gateway to …” with the first of the series having “Your Dreams” added to the phrase. Four further films are planned covering Golf & Wellness, Cycling & Exploration, Rock Climbing & Rafting, History & Culture.
This year sees a special celebration of Aspendos, a 2,000 year-old Roman theatre on the outskirts of Antalya, so the airport has done a special film, “Antalya – Gateway to Aspendos”.
To see the films, search for the Fraport TAV Antalya Airport channel on YouTube. They will give CONNECT delegates a feel for the host region ahead of the event.