Turkey hopes to attract 30 mln tourists this year
The 44th Tourism Stock Exchange Fair opened in Berlin yesterday with Turkey as the guest country, and Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay attending. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Gunay said Turkey aims to attract 30 million tourists from around the world this year, adding that Turkey was the only country that closed last year's tourism season with rising tourist numbers despite the fallout of the global economic crisis. Stating that tourism entrepreneurs learned important lessons from the crisis, Gunay added, "The number of tourists visiting Turkey rose to nearly 27 million last year from 26 million in 2008. Strong tourism cooperation between Turkey and Germany played a key role in this success." Telling how the crisis intensified competition in the world travel market due to shrinking tourism demands, Gunay said, "Last year world travel demand saw a 4 percent contraction while European travel market experienced a 6 percent fall, as travelers opted for domestic destinations. It seems this intensified competition in the sector will continue this year as well." Touching on this year's tourism campaigns, Gunay said that cultural tourism in Turkey would be stressed alongside traditional sun, sea, and sand promotions. "The cultural and historical assets from past civilizations in Turkey are the common heritage of mankind," he said. "We want to put these assets to good use with a sustainable tourism approach which aims to strike a balance between protecting and utilizing those historical and cultural artifacts. Turkey has 9 cultural sites on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List, and 23 other cultural assets of ours have been nominated." Touting his ministry's efforts to ensure high-quality service for tourists visiting Turkey, Gunay said the ministry has strict supervision of hotels and takes tourist complaints seriously. He said that they are striving to keep prices low while raising the quality of service. Stating that more German tourists are expected to visit Turkey this year – 5 million, up from 4.5 million in 2009 – Gunay pledged to work hard to keep attracting more Germans than any other nationality. Also speaking to reporters, German Travel Agencies Union head Klaus Laepple praised Turkey's customer-oriented tourism industry, saying that it distinguishes itself by offering travelers high-quality service.