OTI Holding, carrying out its tour operatorship activities in Turkey under the ODEON brand and having switched to using the brand Coral Travel, one of its affiliates, in 2014, aims to turn Coral into a global brand. Conducting tour operatorship services in Ukraine, Poland and Georgia under different brands, OTI Holding will gather all of these brands under the roof of Coral. We talked about the transition process from ODEON to Coral and targets of the process with Mehmet Kamçı, Domestic Market Sales and Marketing Manager of Coral Travel.

The company experienced a transition from ODEON Tours to Coral Travel in 2014. Why did you make such a decision?

The first company of OTI Holding is ODEON Tours. ODEON Tours engaging in in-coming until 2006 started to operate in domestic market as well later on. In 2014, we experienced a transition process from ODEON to Coral; in 2015, we turned ODEON into a brand rendering ground services and decided to maintain our tour operatorship activities in Turkey with Coral Travel. We are aiming to make Coral a global brand. Coral will be the only brand serving as a tour operator within OTI Holding.

What kind of activities will you carry out with the ODEON Tours brand?

OTI Holding operates in more than 30 companies, primarily Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Georgia, constituting the source markets of the company. ODEON Tours will perform ground services of the tourists in these countries. For example, ODEON performs in-coming transactions when Coral Travel sends its guests from Turkey to Spain. Or it renders the same service when a group travels from Greece to Dubai. Previously, Odeon both sold travels and welcomed guests in Turkey. But now Coral serves guests in Turkey and ground services are carried by Odeon under the Coral Travel brand.  Thus a synergy occurs together with other source markets.

WE WILL EXPAND TWICE AS MUCH ABROAD

In which fields does Coral Travel operate in Turkey?

We sell domestic, foreign, Cyprus and cruise tours. Domestic tours comprise 75%, Cyprus tours comprise 15% and foreign tours comprise 10% of our operations in Turkey. But these figures will expand this year. We will follow a more radical and aggressive policy in 2014.

How will you realize this?

We are operating in more than 30 countries. We will increase our Cyprus and foreign sales even more using this advantage. We grew twice in terms of foreign sales in 2014. Our target is the same for this year. We also realized there’s significant potential in cruise tours and we decided to enlarge our operations. We will achieve our goals.

What is your target for this year?

We carried a total of 85 thousand people in 2014. We aim to grow at the rate of 70% and reach a number in 150 thousands.

70% is a very ambitious target. How will you attain this target?

We believe that Turkish vacationers will tend to prefer different options this year rather than village holidays and relative visits. The major factor in this is that the prices are the same with last year. We think that hotels will follow a different strategy due to the problems in some markets and they will focus on the domestic market. And the elections not being as intense as the previous year also triggers this increase. Current course of events also proves our predictions to be accurate. Early reservations are 100 percent higher this year compared to the same period of the previous year. We even expanded by 3 times in foreign and culture tours. We realized 40 percent of our turnover through early reservation last year. We think that this rate will exceed 50 percent this year.

How did the events in Paris and explosion in Sultanahmet affect tourism movements?

We faced such sad events in different destinations during different periods. But we think that there won’t be a negative effect as long as these aren’t long-term events. We sold all of our Paris-Disneyland packages for the semester holiday and we didn’t receive any requests for the cancellation of the packages. Explosion in Sultanahmet occurred in the center of tourism. There were cancellations for a few days but it will not be a problem in the long run because Istanbul is a worldwide brand and it wasn’t built in a day. Tourists also know this. They will not give up on Turkey that easily.