Turkey, Greece must boost Med tourism
Turkey’s European Union Minister Egemen Bağış speaks at a tourism summit in Athens. AA photoTurkey’s European Union Minister Egemen Bağış has urged that Turkey and Greece should enhance their relations particularly for cooperation on eastern Mediterranean tourism, during the Mediterranean Luxury Travel Summit 2013 in Athens.
Bağış said the global tourism income surpassed $1 trillion last year, a 4 percent increase from the previous year, at the summit on Oct. 7. “We should ask this question: How can we raise the share of the eastern Mediterranean region of this $1 trillion cake?” he asked. Turkey wants to make its relations with Greece reach the highest level and believes that a profitable cooperation will found the basis of an eastern Mediterranean region with abundance and success.
The minister recalled that Turkey raised its trade with Greece by 100 percent in the last 10 years, but a bilateral trade volume of around 4 billion euros wasn’t enough. “Greek Prime Minister Samaras visited Turkey a couple of months ago in order to negotiate a memorandum of understanding for a Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Agreement. If we all want to advance our cooperation, these steps should be taken,” he said. The two countries have potential in many fields like energy, security and economic dynamism.
Bağış said Turkey was the sixth most visited country in the world. The number of tourists rose from 13 million in 2002 to 30 million last year, he said, adding that they aimed to raise it to 50 million. They expected Turkey to host more than 37 million tourists by the end of this year. The value of exchange spent by tourists reached 16.5 billion, he added. Their 2023 target for tourism was to place Turkey within the top-five list, he said.