ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
Minister Ertuğrul Günay shows his newly-
made temporary tattoo during a fair. AA photo
Europe’s ongoing economic crisis is forcing the Turkish tourism industry to seek new markets to reduce its dependence on its current markets, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said Feb. 9 in Istanbul.
“We foresee that the European market could become saturated in the coming year, so we are trying to branch out to new markets,” said Günay at the opening of the East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (EMITT). “This is why the upcoming Arab Tourism Union meeting in Bursa is important and we will hold a similar meeting in Turkey’s Black Sea
region in a few years.”
Turkish tourism and entrepreneurs are coming to the forefront in the world, former Tourism Minister Bahattin Yücel also said at the event.
In 2011, 31.5 million foreign tourists visited Turkey, up from 30 million the year before, said Günay.
“Istanbul is not only important in the world because of its history, but also for its art and cultural activities. It’s not just Istanbul though, but also [the southern provinces of] Antalya
and Muğla,” said Günay, adding that Turkey was no longer relegated to the block of tourist destinations that include Egypt, Greece
and North Africa, but rather the group comprising Italy, France and Spain.
Yücel said the EMITT tourism fair had become number five in the world and was showcasing the importance of Turkish tourism in the world. This year’s fair is being attended by 4,500 participants from 62 different countries, he added.
“Due to Turkey’s economic development over the past years, Turkish tourism and entrepreneurs have come to the forefront,” said Yücel.