Turkey is set to achieve 50 million tourists target in 2019 as tourists from across the world and specially Gulf countries continue to rise month on month and year on year, according to a top government official.
“When it comes to our target for this year, yes, we’re planning to reach it through numerous kinds of diversifications and offers,” Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE, told The UAE News during an exclusive interview in his office in Dubai.
Regarding the numbers from the UAE, Ozer said, “We have received around 63,000 people until May, 2019. Last year, we received around 250,000 guests from the UAE, and our market share was around 8.4 per cent when we compare this figure with the total outbound figure that is around 3 million people.”
He added: “When it comes to tourism spending of the tourists for the first three months of this year, we find the figure in total $4.6 billion. Last year, our total tourism revenues were $26.5 billion.”
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. Turkey has set a target of 50 million tourists in 2019 and now we are in the middle of the year. How close are you to achieve this target?
There’s something to be declared that Turkey has great diversity in terms of tourism in such a way that every one that is looking for something can find it easily in Turkey. So, Turkey has much to offer to every taste, including people coming from Arabic and Gulf countries. When it comes to our target for this year, yes, we’re planning to reach it through these kinds of diversifications and offers and we’re trying to make the potential tourists be aware of it by our promotions carried out by our tourism offices all around the world. In this regard, we have around 50 separate offices abroad to promote Turkey with every possible instruments and vehicles just like putting advertisements on magazines and journals, TV channels, radio stations, indoors and outdoors and on social media. In this regard, we’re participating to tourism exhibitions just like Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, WTM in London, MITT in Moscow etc. bringing Turkish travel agencies, accommodation centres to meet with their partners there to do business with them. Besides that, we’re organising workshops in every country to bring together our companies and the relevant country’s agencies to do business. Also, we’re organising fam trips for agencies to make them familiarise our new destinations and create new tour packages and media trip for journalists to encourage them to write about destinations and their experiences in Turkey. Until May 2019, we received more than 12 million people that show an increase of 11.3 per cent when we compare it with the same period 2018. The tourist numbers to Turkey is especially increasing at summertime so this number is expected to multiply during summertime and also expected to continue in autumn to reach our goal at the end of this year.
Q. Do you have data for the January to June 2019 period of tourists’ arrivals in Turkey and their spending?
Regarding the numbers from the UAE, we have received around 63,000 people until May. Last year, we received around 250,000 guests from the UAE, and our market share was around 8.4 per cent when we compare this figure with the total outbound figure that is around 3 million people.
When it comes to tourism spending of the tourists for the first three months of this year, we find the figure in total $4.6 billion. Last year, our total tourism revenues were $26.5 billion.
Q. What are the popular destinations among Gulf tourists?
As we know, Gulf countries are divided into two main parts demographically: local people and expatriates. Local people always prefer to spend their holidays in the Marmara region (Istanbul, Bursa, Bolu, Yalova and Black Sea Region (Trabzon, Rize) and slightly in the Mediterranean region, especially in Antalya. But when it comes to expat people living in the Gulf countries, they go to Turkey starting from Istanbul and then Mediterranean cities just like Antalya and Bodrum. And there’s a great demand from expat people in recent years to Cappadocia. This region is a completely unique destination in Turkey and worth visiting for its valleys, balloon experiences and especially fair chimneys carved out by nature thousands of years ago and its historic churches. In brief, this area has breath-taking natural scenes. Because of all these features, this area is registered in UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
Q. Summer holidays just started in the UAE and other Gulf countries. Is it a good time to visit Turkey during July and August?
Of course, it’s the right time to visit Turkey now. Because schools are closed and family-oriented Gulf tourists always go out from their countries because of the hot weather to other countries, including Turkey, to spend their holidays with their families. The weather in Turkey is very good, and Turkey has many things to offer the tourists coming from Gulf countries.
Q. Are you offering good holiday packages to Gulf tourists nowadays during the summer season?
We, as a diplomatic body, are trying to promote Turkey here and in other accredited Gulf countries. All travel agencies here are selling very good and different holiday packages for all people to all tastes.