We are going to break our tourist record in Turkey
« By the end of the year, we will have exceeded 40 million tourists and broken the previous record, » said Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy
The Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, expressed his faith in Turkey’s ability to set a new tourist record at the end of the year, knowing that nearly 32 million people visited the country in the first three quarters of 2018.
He answered questions about the country’s tourism data, forecasts for the coming months and years, and about the measures taken by his ministry to further strengthen the sector.
« At the end of the 3rd quarter, we recorded a 23% increase in the number of tourists to 32 million people. At the end of the year, we will exceed 40 million tourists and will have broken the previous record for Turkey, » he said.
But for Ersoy, if the increase in the number of tourists is satisfactory, it must be accompanied by the increase in the income they generate.
« For the same period, tourism revenues increased only slightly by 1% to $11.5 billion. Now we need to focus on how to increase the amount spent per night per tourist, » he said.
The Minister explained in particular that Turkey’s tourist season must no longer be satisfied with sunny periods.
« Our tourism season must include the 12 months of the year, » he said, stressing the importance of developing cultural tourism, winter tourism and sports tourism.
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy also announced that the infrastructure, first and foremost hotels, will be further enriched throughout the country.
From April 2019, the national airline, Turkish Airlines, will offer flights from Western countries, Russia and the Middle East to the Turkish resorts of Bodrum and Izmir (West – Aegean Sea), Antalya and Dalaman (South Mediterranean).
From the point of view of promoting tourism in Turkey, the minister explained, for example, that traditional campaigns will be given less prominence, in favour of campaigns on social networks or with well-known bloggers and web figures.
Regarding the disagreements with Booking and Uber, the Turkish minister explained that Turkey wants these two global giants of the sector to respect taxation and competition rules.
« If they pay taxes in Turkey and give up unfair competition, there is no reason why the Turkish market should not be accessible to them again, » he said.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism also spoke about the work on the country’s historical treasures.
« Between 2003 and 2018, we repatriated 4,319 historical works found abroad to Turkey, » he said.
He concluded: « Currently, 153 archaeological excavations are underway in Turkey, 122 by Turkish researchers and 31 by foreigners. Our objective is to finalize, within 12 months, the 20 main sites essential for the tourism sector. »