Turkish tourism industry on upswing

Yeni Mosque, Istanbul

Turkey’s recent achievements in the field of tourism have made her a star in this highly competitive industry, not only in this important region, but also in the international tourism market.

A good indicator of Turkey’s growing reputation as a tourism destination is the phenomenal average annual growth of its tourism sector. Tourism in Turkey has grown at an average of 11 per cent in the last decade, a figure that substantially exceeds the world average and the European average as well.
In 2004, Turkey welcomed over 17.5 million visitors, which is an increase of 24.9 per cent over the previous year. Turkey expects that figure to cross the 20-million mark by the end of 2005.
In keeping with that increase in tourist inflow, revenue from tourism touched $15.9 billion in 2004, rising strongly from $4.3 billion back in 1994.
Hotel facilities have multiplied to keep up with this great surge in the number of tourists visiting Turkey. Hotels licensed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have a collective capacity of over 430,000 beds. With an additional capacity of 250,000 beds expected to be added by licensed establishments that are coming up in the near future, the total capacity will rise to 680,000 beds. In addition to this, licenced yachting enterprises account for a total of 10,000 beds.
There are over 4,000 travel agencies that operate in Turkey, offering tourists the best in a wide variety of services.
As a multi-faceted destination, Turkey offers an extremely interesting mixture of attractions that will fascinate any tourist. Given the growing demands for more exotic vacations and destinations, Turkey offers the best of the East and the West, presenting a rich mixture of the ancient and the modern.
At the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for Turkey, they aim to diversify the tourism product by promoting Congress and Incentive Tourism, Yachting, Golf, Wellness and Spa Tourism, and Eco Tourism, right alongside with Sun, Sand and Sea Tourism.
Turkey has been witness to innumerable events of historic and international importance. This colourful country also has some of the most celebrated monuments of the three great religions. This has led to Faith Tourism becoming a significant part of tourism in Turkey.
One of the prime attractions of Turkey is Istanbul. It is the only city on earth which is located on two continents. Its great natural beauty complements its beautiful mosques and palaces. Istanbul has extensive shopping facilities that cater to diverse tourist preferences and offers many cultural activities and attractions.
It is encouraging to note that the number of tourists coming to Turkey from neighbouring countries and from the other countries in the region is continuously increasing. This is a positive sign that the country is taking the right measures in promoting tourism.
HE Atilla Koc, the minister of tourism of the Republic of Turkey, stated “As an example of our sincere efforts in this respect, we are happy to announce that until October 31, 2005, visitors from the Gulf countries such as Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia will be able to obtain their visas at the border entries by paying $20 or an equivalent of 15 euros on entry”.
Turkey, as a leading country in the area of tourism, will be hosting the First International Tourism Fair of Islamic Countries in Istanbul in 2005.