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With next month's winter universiade, Erzurum hoping to draw hordes of winter tourists

With next month's winter universiade, Erzurum hoping to draw hordes of winter tourists

The eastern Anatolia province of Erzurum is set to host nearly 4,000 athletes from 20 countries as part of the 2011 Winter Universiade (University Olympics), set to be held from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6. Stating that Turkey 's current annual earnings from ski tourism are less than $1 million, Turkish Ski Federation (TKF) head Ozer Ayik said, "For the first time, Eurosport will broadcast the Winter Universiade live. This 10-day event is a great opportunity to tout Erzurum 's Palandoken facilities to ski lovers worldwide. Everyone knows Turkey as a country of sea, sand and sun, but Turkey stands at 1,132 meters above sea level, and 62 percent of our land is mountainous terrain. Turkey has more than 120 elevations over 3,000 meters." Stating that half of France 's tourism revenues, €39 billion, comes from winter tourism although its mountainous land area is only 12 percent, Ayik said, "The share of winter tourism in Turkey 's total tourism earnings should leap to 20-30 percent from the current 40 percent per thousand." He added, "A ski tourist spends three or four times more money than a summer tourist. The key factor behind the underdevelopment of ski tourism in Turkey is the lack of necessary facilities. We want to attract 300,000 winter tourists annually, but Turkey 's total bed capacity for this stands below 15,000."

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