EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON FOREIGN TOURISTS WHO PREFER TURKEY AS A HOLIDAY DESTINATION

Şakir EŞİTTİ

Mehmet IŞIK

Postal service, which is the first step of the systematic communication, founded in 550 BC by the Persian Empire, since than communication tools and mediums has developed and evolved gradually over the time. At the end of the twentieth century, with the impact of the invention of the internet and social media technologies that developed in the continuation of it, one-way communication was replaced by the two-way communication which has enabled people to communicate with each other interactively. The revolution in the communication atmosphere that was created by the Internet and social media tools, as well as the daily lives of the individuals and societies also affected the several business sectors deeply. At the outsets of these sectors, tourism sector come. Internet and social media provide important opportunities for tourists in terms of information searching about their destinations and accommodation choices. Nowadays the internet and social media emerge as an important means of mass communication medium for tourism enterprises in terms of reaching their target audiences and for tourists in terms of their accommodation destination choices. Accordingly, the main purpose of this study is to find out the impact of social media to the decision-making process of foreign tourists who choose Turkey as a destination and put forward empirically how they are affected by the information they receive from social media, also to make some suggestions to the tourism enterprises about the importance of their image on social media. In this perspective the study designed as a quantitative case study, the data collected by using a survey technique and the obtained data is analyzed by SPSS program. Thus, social media usage trends of foreign tourists and if social media affects them prior to the selection of their destinations were determined. In the study, one of the most popular tourist areas of Turkey, Izmir and Istanbul provinces chosen as the research universe and 390 tourists were interviewed accordingly. According to the obtained data, tourists use social media before deciding their holiday destinations and they gather information about the destination and accommodation places they intend to go. According to findings of the study, foreign tourists to use social media effectively, and it is determined that tourists change their destinations or accommodation places according to the information obtained from social media.

Keywords: Social Media, Social Networks, Tourism, Destination Choice, The Impact of Social Media to Tourism