Turkey’s role as “powerhouse” in tourism praised ahead of G20 meetingTourism ministers from around the world will gather in Antalya in September to discuss critical issues surrounding tourism.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation chief called host nation Turkey “a role model and a powerhouse” in the sector.
The G20 is a year-long round of meetings for the governments of the world’s 20 top economies. This year, it’s hosted by Turkey and will round off in the leaders’ summit in November, also held in Antalya.
During the year finance ministers and central bank governors will meet regularly to talk about ways to strengthen the global economy and co-ordinate policies.
Tourism is a crucial issue for the G20, since more than three quarters of the G20 countries in attendance also rank in the UNWTO’s 20 most visited international countries.
WTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai weighed in on the importance of the industry. “Tourism today is a central global phenomenon, employing one out of eleven people all over the world, representing nine percent of GDP; we need to take it seriously.”
“Whatever direction this forum takes, it can influence the entire international scene. That’s precisely why we decided to work with the forum and we have done so ever since.”
Antalya itself is Turkey’s second most visited destination, and Turkey the sixth most visited country. Rifai described the country’s reaction as “enthusiastic.” “We have seen an extremely enthusiastic and cooperative reaction from Turkey.”
Rifai also revealed that the theme of this year’s meeting will be the connection between tourism and employment, and that one of the key talking points will be how G20 economies can boost their tourist numbers by 122 million and create five million more jobs by improving visa processes.
The Secretary General also highlighted Turkey’s status as a “role model” in the tourist industry, thanks to its efforts in reforming visa requirements - which had a knock-on effect on tourist arrivals and employment - and for the focus the country has put on tourism in recent years.
“Simply saying to the world, ‘Welcome to Turkey,’ has made the country warm and likeable for visitors,” says Mr. Rifai. “The country is already a role model and a powerhouse in tourism. With over forty million visitors coming into the country in 2014, Turkey has not only realised the enormous importance of tourism as an economic sector, the country has also shown great political will to advance. This progressive vision has undeniably paid back.”
Turkish Airlines steps up flightsTurkey’s national airline is set to introduce flights from Istanbul to Turkey’s first artificial island airport, in the Black Sea region, from May 22. The airport, near Ordu, is built on an man made island, built with 35 million tonnes of rocks and is the first of its kind outside Asia. There will be four weekly flights, with another added in June.
The flag-carrier has also announced that it will begin serving the southeastern region of Hakkari, with daily flights from Istanbul beginning May 26.
With the addition of the two new routes, Turkish Airlines takes its nationwide destinations to 46.
Tourism revenue boostTurkey’s tourism revenues reached $4.87 billion in the first quarter of the year, a rise of 1.3 percent over the same period in 2014.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, more than 5.3 million visitors came to Turkey during the first quarter, an increase of 5.5 percent over the same period last year.
Visitors hailing from overseas spent an average of $884 each, contributing to the tourist income which is vital to Turkey’s economic health, and a valuable source of foreign currency.
Turkey sits at sixth place in the world in terms of tourist numbers, according to the World Tourism Organisation.
A fascinating glimpse into Turkey’s tourist demographicsRecent data reveals where tourists visiting come from, and where they like to go in Turkey.
According to Culture and Tourism Ministry data, Istanbul, the country’s primary destination, is most popular with Germans, who make up around 9.4 percent of tourists in Istanbul are German. However, Middle Eastern visitor numbers are fast catching up, with a tourist boom in recent years. Middle Eastern visitors are also the ones purchasing the most property in the city.
The most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul attracted almost six million visitors between them last year: 3.5 million people visited the Hagia Sofia, while the Basilica Cistern saw 2.1 million visitors.
Two thirds of tourist who visit Turkey head to Antalya’s world famous Blue Flag beaches. A third of these visitors are Russians, 26% German, followed by Dutch, British, Swedish and Ukranians
Top tourist spots include Demre’s St Nicholas Church, Myra, the Alanya Fortress, Aspendos and Phaselis.
Mugla, the region that encompasses Bodrum and Fethiye, attracts 2.5 million visitors each year and is the top spot for Brits, followed by Russians, Dutch, Germans, Poles and French. Brits are also the top overseas buyers here, owning 70 percent of homes.
The hauntingly beautiful inland region draws 2.4 million tourists from all over the world each year, with half of those visitors coming from abroad. Germans are at the top of the list. Tourists visit underground cities, fairy chimneys and ruins, and one in three tourists takes a balloon ride.
Investment incentives to boost tourismThe government is aiming to boost tourist numbers by offering investment incentives to tourist facilities.
The Economy Ministry has given 1.9 billion Lira (USD$7 million) worth of investment incentives to 90 touristic facility projects in the first quarter of the year.
Of the 90 projects, 69 are new initiatives, according to data from the Touristic Hoteliers Association of the Mediterranean.
Antalya took the lion’s share, with 11 projects worth 484 million Lira ($179 million). Other centres which benefitted included Istanbul, Izmir, Mugla and Ankara.
As a result of the investments, 18,525 beds will be added to the country’s capacity and 4249 jobs will be created.
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