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Turkey the new hot spot for tourism, professional says

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 2/6/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Turkey is a trading hub for its region and offers excellent networks to reach neighboring markets, Jonathan Worsley, co-organizer of the first Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference that starts Monday in Istanbul. Turkey is growing fast in the hospitability business as many markets are shrinking, Worsley tells the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review

Turkey has become the new hot spot for tourism development as the country attracts international investors to participate in its rapidly growing hospitality market, according to the co-organizer of the 2011Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference, or Cathic.

“We chose Turkey as a destination for the first Cathic since it’s a trading hub for the region and offers excellent networking to reach neighboring markets,” Jonathan Worsley told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review during a Saturday interview.

The conference starts Monday and will continue until Wednesday at the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel in Istanbul. The event will host 320 participants from 30 countries to discuss hotel investment opportunities in Turkey and Central Asian countries.

Investors have yet to embrace the investment opportunities presented by growing economies especially in the Turkic region, according to Worsley, who is also the chairman of Bench Events and board director of STR Global, which supplies global benchmarking services, reports and vital market data to thousands of hotels.

[HH] Central Asia

Turkey promises great opportunities for global investors in hospitality as the country welcomed 29 million tourists last year, he said. “Many Central Asian countries are also showing signs of impressive growth.”

Talking to the Daily News, Worsley said tourism in Turkey has grown by over 1,000 percent in last two decades and continues to grow rapidly “where other regions are either contracting or remaining stable.”

Hotel investors have been “slow to invest” in these regions, adding that an increasing shortage of hotel accommodation in all classes, particularly in the budget and mid-market areas continues.

Noting that Turkey is ready to claim its position as a front-runner in economic growth, Worsley said, “Most companies state that Russia and Turkey are the two strategic growth markets.” Turkish occupancy rates have increased by over 16 percent in the last year, the second highest out of all European countries with revenue per available room rising by over 20 percent, according to him.

[HH] Fastest growing markets

Being hopeful about the growth of the hospitality business in Turkey, Worsley said nearly 55 percent of Turkey’s business would look to achieve high single-digit growth this year.

“Turkey will continue to attract inbound investment and this is not surprising considering that it is pegged to be one of the fastest growing markets over the next decade,” he said.

Commenting on Turkish contractors and material suppliers, Worsley said the country is the leading hub of business for Central Asia. “Turkey’s business community, contractors and suppliers will gain a major slice of the pie from projects within the region, as they will offer significant cost advantages being considered as local suppliers.”

Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul is set to receive the award for Best New Hotel and Georgia’s Radisson Blue Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi is set for the Best New Hotel in the Cathic Region at Cathic’s ceremony on Wednesday. Haluk Kaya, co-founder and partner of Bekay Property Partners, is set to receive the award for Outstanding Achievement.

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