Hoteliers want tourist-only casinos in order to attract Chinese gamblers
Burak Coşan - ISTANBUL
Turkey needs to open tourist-only casinos in order to lure more Chinese tourists to Turkey, Turkish Hoteliers Association (TÜROB) president Timur Bayındır has said.
“Some 261 million Chinese travel around the world, but less than 1 million Chinese tourists visit Turkey,” Bayındır said during a meeting with journalists on Jan. 23, adding that opening casinos in Turkey might help to attract more Chinese to the country.
“Chinese love gambling and they spend a lot of money. That is the bottom line. If we do not open casinos, we will not be able to attract more Chinese tourists,” he added.
The island of Yassıada in the Marmara Sea might be a perfect site to open such a casino, according to Bayındır. “It sits idle. A large casino could be opened on this island and only foreign passport holders would be allowed to gamble there. We are losing Chinese tourists to Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania because they have casinos,” Bayındır said.
The TÜROB president complained that high airline ticket fares and an inadequate number of flights between the two countries also discourage potential Chinese tourists from visiting Turkey.
“They can buy a roundtrip ticket to Spain for just 327 euros but a ticket to Turkey from China is five times higher,” he said, adding that the maximum number of Chinese people Turkish Airlines (THY) could bring in is only 300,000. Chinese Airlines should also have flights to Turkey, Bayındır said.
Bayındır also pointed out the Chinese passion for luxury goods, saying that Turkey should create its own luxury brands like “Louis Vuitton,” which might also help attract Chinese tourists to Turkey.