Turkey is opening its doors to India in a bid to encourage trade and tourism between the two countries.
Antalya in particular is a focus. Each year, 15 million tourists visit the southern region, filling the thousands of hotels, apartments or villas in Antalya. The infrastructure is well developed, with the capacity for large, diverse events. Currently, most visitors hail from the UK and Europe. However, Turkey believes there is a large untapped potential in the Indian market.
Event company Iventum Mice says Indians aren’t currently aware of all Antalya has to offer - perhaps because they’re not able to imagine what it’s like, says the company’s managing director Bunyat Ozpak.
However, he said if tourism companies could successfully promote Antalya to Indian tourists, the market could be significant, especially those looking for quality breaks on a budget, staying in the luxury villas Turkey is known for throughout Europe. It’s thought that around 18 million Indians have the capacity for overseas travel each year.
According to tourism officials, Indians travelling to Turkey will mostly be interested in culture and gastronomy, which will be positive for a country trying to promote aspects other than the sun and sea industry which underpins the tourist economy.
Around ten thousand Indian weddings are carried out abroad each year, generating billions of dollars. A rising number of Indian couples are choosing to marry in Antalya, according to Turkey’s tourism minister.
This year, 250 Indian travel agency representatives are travelling to Turkey to check out the Mugla province’s infrastructure and suitability for destination wedding hosting capabilities.
Last year there were 12 Indian weddings in Antalya. An official from West Mediterranean Development Agency has stated that Turkey’s tourist sector is aiming to hold at least 20 Indian weddings each year. And with each Indian wedding party inviting an average of 200 guests, who will each spend between $500 to $2000 on accommodation alone, the potential for increasing local revenue is significant.
Improving trade links
Meanwhile, Turkey and India are also making moves to increase trade and direct investment between the two countries.
Speaking at the Turkey-India Business Forum on May 1, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proclaimed a new era of business ties between the two.
“Since India gained independence, our relations have been based on friendship. Economic cooperation will be further deepened and diversified. This is our sincere wish and we are determined and committed to achieve this,” the president said.
The countries have trade volume of around $6.5 billion. Last year, Turkey exported $652 million to India, while imports from India amounted to $5.75 billion. Erdogan said he expected this to increase to $10 billion.
Erdogan pointed out that Turkey would greatly benefit from co-operation with India in the sectors of IT, technology and renewable energy, industries where India has developed rapidly in recent years.
In return, India is seeing a push for better infrastructure, an exercise which can be assisted by Turkish construction companies.
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