Turkey builds on its success

Turkey has much to impress tourists ... arrivals soar from the Gulf.

Turkey is staging its biggest ever promotion at the ATM this month to capitalise on the phenomenal growth in tourist arrivals from the Gulf.

Kuwait-based Turkish Tourism and Information Office is mounting a 141 sq m pavilion at the ATM, 18 per cent bigger in size than last year.

The expanded ATM participation comes as Turkey celebrates a 71 per cent increase in its tourism arrivals from the Gulf and looks for even bigger regional gains.

"In the first nine months of last year some 30,947 tourists from the Gulf visited Turkey, compared to 18,080 for the same period in 2000," said Hasan Zongur, Information AttachŽ at the tourism office.

"Many factors have played a role in the increasing tourist numbers, but Arabian Travel Market activities is one of the most important."

Saudi Arabia remains the biggest GCC tourism market for Turkey with arrivals from the kingdom rising to 20,588 last year, an increase of 11.74 per cent over 2000. Kuwait provided the next largest numbers, with tourist arrivals more than tripling to 5,325.

Tourist traffic from the UAE virtually doubled to 3,398 while arrivals from Bahrain soared 376 per cent to 2,330.

Qatar and Oman, though amounting to smaller tourism market for Turkey, accounted for 603 and 495 arrivals respectively, massive jumps in percentage of 458 and 375.

But despite the huge surge in traffic from the Gulf, Zongur says the Middle East still accounts for only 1.66 per cent of all tourism arrivals to Turkey.

"We believe our market share remains insufficient and we have to boost it further," said Zongur.

"Currently tourists from EU represent 61.24 per cent of Turkey's total tourism arrivals and the Middle East share should be judged against that. In the coming years our target is to ensure that the Middle East accounts for a market share of at least 10 per cent of all our tourism arrivals."