The popularity of Turkish TV series and health tourism have prompted a nearly fourfold increase in Spaniards’ interest in Türkiye, according to data and officials.
The growing interest in Turkish TV series grew significantly during the COVID-19 period, reflecting positively on Türkiye’s tourism sector.
“Turkish TV series and health tourism have had a positive impact on both Turkish Airlines and tourism in Türkiye,” said Numan Çizmecioğlu, general manager of national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) in Madrid.
Çizmecioğlu noted that Turkish TV series have been gaining popularity in Spain day by day and are now the most-watched shows on Spanish television.
“We have witnessed the extent of the interest in Turkish TV series in our sector. While Spanish people are getting information about Türkiye or buying (airline) tickets, we are asked questions such as ‘Where are these TV series shot?’ and ‘Can we visit there?'” THY official told Anadolu Agency (AA).
“We also heard that some tourism agencies take Spanish tourists to places where TV series are shot in Türkiye.”
Soaring TV series sales
The TV series have been making an ever-increasing export contribution and have made Türkiye one of the biggest sellers of TV series globally. In the last four years, dozens of Turkish TV series were broadcast on Spanish television in prime-time slots while garnering the highest ratings.
Many popular series of ATV, a channel owned by Daily Sabah’s parent company Turkuvaz Media Group, including “Bir Zamanlar Çukurova” (“Bitter Lands”), “Kara Para Aşk” (“Black Money Love”) and “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne” (“What is Fatmagül’s crime?”), are among the Turkish productions that have been broadcasted on Spanish channels.
Touching on another factor that increased Türkiye’s popularity among Spaniards, health tourism, Çizmecioğlu said: “In the first place, the Turkish market for hair transplantation became very popular among Spanish people. In the meantime, they realized how high the quality of the health service is in Türkiye and how affordable the prices are that are being offered to them.”
He further said that Spanish people now visit Türkiye for aesthetic, dental and eye surgery as well.
“We think that this market will develop further,” he added.
Spaniards who visit Türkiye for health also find the opportunity to take a short vacation, he noted.
According to data from Türkiye’s Tourism Office in Madrid, the number of Spaniards who visited Türkiye was around 75,000 last year, before the figure leaped to 255,000 in the past 10 months this year and is expected to touch 300,000 by the end of the year.
Weekly flights to increase
THY has reached its pre-pandemic passenger volume in 2022 and even surpassed it in some locations, Çizmecioğlu highlighted, adding the number of passengers increased by 123% compared to last year.
“The increase in passengers, revenue and frequency in 2022 in comparison with the previous year thrilled us,” he shared.
He noted that the number of weekly flights of Turkish Airlines from Spain to Türkiye, which currently stands at 70, is expected to rise to 82 for the coming summer season.
The number of weekly flights to Madrid and Barcelona, the most important destinations in Spain, where Turkish Airlines will celebrate its 40th and 30th year of operation next year, will be increased from 21 to 25, he noted.
“While Spaniards’ primary destinations in Türkiye are Istanbul and Cappadocia, the Black Sea, Aegean regions and Antalya are also destinations that are now attracting tourists,” Çizmecioğlu added.
“We have also witnessed that family groups do yacht tourism in Türkiye. This is a new trend for us,” he concluded.