Last year Turkey welcomed almost 400,000 visitors from China, however, the aim is to play host to even more Chinese visitors this year. Flights from Turkish and Chinese cities have been steadily increasing thanks to the ongoing promotion between the two countries, and the real target for Turkey is to welcome over half a million Chinese tourists in 2019.
Turkey’s Ambassador of Beijing, Abdulkadir Emin Onen, spoke about the additional promotional activities in the country, saying: “2018 was a record year as we have facilitated 60 Turkey-orientated promotion activities in China. Our goal is to surpass 500,000 in the number of Chinese tourists this year.” He went on to speak about how 2018 was celebrated in China as Turkey Tourism Year. Onen confirmed that their main goal was to invite over a million Chinese tourists to Turkey in the next few years as statistics from China show that 130 million Chinese tourists travel around the world each year.
Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition
Turkey opened an enormous pavilion in April at the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition where they introduced a variety of dishes from geographical regions of Turkey as well some of the spectacular architectural features Turkey had to offer.
The idea behind the pavilion was for Chinese tourists to experience Turkey without actually visiting the country. In fact it appears that after visiting the pavilion, Chinese tourist interest in Turkey increased further. Ambassador Onen confirmed this when he stated almost two million Chinese had visited the Turkish area of the exhibition, making it the most popular place in the entire show.
To promote Turkey, the Turkish embassy used cooperation with news columnists, authors and social media influencers with over a million followers. Six delegates were sent to the top tourism cities. Turkish Airlines also joined forces, assisting in taking the delegates to various areas of Turkey such as the Black Sea, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Mardin, Gaziantep, Konya and Urfa. The delegates then went on to share the destinations on social media.
The Ambassador went onto explain that Turkey needed to assist in getting the eating and drinking habits of the Chinese tourists arranged in the hotels. They also need to increase the number of guides fluent in Chinese.
Flights and Airlines
Ambassador Onen explained the number of flights between Turkey and China. Chinese Southern Airlines launched Beijing-Istanbul and Wuhan-Istanbul flights, whilst another prominent airline Sichuan Airlines scheduled flights between Chengdu and Istanbul. There are also plans for another Chinese airline to fly to Istanbul. Onen said: “Hopefully, we aim to fly at least one more city in 2019. In 2020 or following years, I hope we will push the capacity to fly to other cities.”
Onen said that the Turkish Embassy in Beijing was promoting Turkish tourism. A group of professional museum experts from China were sent to Turkey to create voiceovers in Chinese at thirty-two museums. The voiceovers are available now as an application and there is an additional thirty-two museums currently being worked on.
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