Istanbul's tourist profile, which has changed with the pandemic, directs new investments. Samancı Group Board Member Mahir Samancı said, “Arab tourists, whose weight is increasing, prefer the concept of home in cosmopolitan areas of the city such as Nişantaşı and Şişli. Residences and luxury apart hotels come to the fore in new investments.”
The tourism sector, which came to a standstill in the pandemic, reactivated in 2021. According to the data of the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul, one of the cities that attract the most tourists in our country, hosted nearly 2021 million tourists in the first 9 months of 111,85 with an increase of 6 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. Stating that there has been an increase in hotel occupancy in Istanbul since the Eid-al-Adha, Samancı Group Board Member Mahir Samancı said, “Istanbul managed to exceed the total number of tourists last year with nearly 9 million visitors in 6 months. In September, there was an increase in the rate of foreign tourists and expats coming from Europe, especially Germany, as well as the Middle East geography such as Iran and Iraq. We expect the activity to continue until the end of the year with the effect of fairs and congresses that have started again. The fact that many destinations in the world were closed during the pandemic gave Istanbul an advantage.”
Istanbul's tourist profile has changed
Noting that there has been a remarkable increase in demands from Arab countries such as Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Jordan, Mahir Samancı said, “The pandemic has changed the tourist profile of Istanbul. Before the pandemic, Arabs took the place of the European tourists that brought the highest income. During this period, we hosted Turkish citizens living in Europe with groups from Iran, Jordan, Kenya and Greece. As Samancı Group, we moved to the boutique hotel system by being flexible during the pandemic period. Since we serve the upper income group, we achieved our targeted profitability of 70%. Even though the requests are made at the last minute rather than an early reservation due to the pandemic, the tourist flow is active,” he said.
Competition will flare up in 2022
Mahir Samancı stated that the hotels located close to shopping malls such as Nişantaşı and Şişli and historical places such as Sultanahmet are in the first place in the preference of tourists and said, “The pandemic created an opportunity for new hotel investments in Istanbul. In Istanbul, 653 facilities with Tourism Operation Certificate serve with a bed capacity of 129.096. With the completion of 72 facilities under investment, a bed capacity of 145.934 will be reached. Istanbul is preparing very hard for 2022. Competition will also intensify with new investments. Companies that make use of this period with investment will stand out in the competition," he said.
2 new apart hotels in Nişantaşı and Şişli
Noting that the change in the tourist profile of Istanbul with the pandemic has also been reflected in new investments, Samancı Group Board Member Mahir Samancı said, “Now, tourists are looking for a home concept where they can feel safe. Demands in this direction are rising from the Middle East region, where there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists. Investments are also shaped according to this demand. In January 2021, we started our Princely House project, which we developed as an apart hotel in Nişantaşı. We matured Samancı Residence in Şişli. Our hotel in the luxury aparthotel category consists of 1 flats of 1+2, 1+3 and 1+26 sizes. With our new investments, we aim to gain a superior power in competition by meeting the demand for the home concept of the Middle East.”
Will focus on stable growth
Stating that they will focus on stable growth with new investments, Mahir Samancı said, “As Samancı Group, we stepped into the sector in 2012 with Halifaks Hotel in Şişli. Then, we added new investments to our investments with Buke Hotel in the same region and Yılsam Hotel in Sultanahmet. We acquired Icon Hotel in Taksim 8 months ago,” he added.