Erdoğan calls on citizens abroad: ‘Come to Turkey for vacation’

Erdoğan calls on citizens abroad: ‘Come to Turkey for vacation’

Erdoğan calls on citizens abroad: ‘Come to Turkey for vacation’

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Turkish citizens living abroad to take their vacations in Turkey, in an attempt to revive the country’s struggling tourism sector. 

“I want our citizens not only to come here [Turkey] but also to invite their neighbors in their countries of residence and their friends. We are launching this ‘Come with Your Neighbor’ campaign for our citizens abroad,” Erdoğan told tourism sector representatives in a meeting at the Presidential Palace on Feb. 2. 

Referring to difficulties experienced in tourism over the past year, he claimed that these problems are “not local but global.” 

“The effects of the global economic crisis, the security crises in our region, the humanitarian drama, and political breakdown threatens and affects us just as it does the whole world,” Erdoğan said. 

The government aims to overcome the difficulties in the flagging tourism sector by launching new campaigns to attract Turkish citizens living abroad and foreign citizens living in Turkey to spend their holidays in Turkey. 

“At the first stage, we intend to increase the number of tourists by 8 million,” he said. 

“For this reason, our [Culture and Tourism] Ministry, under my protection and in partnership with the sector, is launching a campaign,” Erdoğan said, also calling on Turkish citizens to arrange special ceremonies such as weddings in Turkey. 

“Today, over 50,000 weddings are held abroad by our citizens annually. This number is very serious. I expect our citizens living abroad to hold their special ceremonies like weddings, engagements or circumcisions in our country,” he said.  

According to Foreign Ministry figures, there are currently more than 5.5 million Turkish citizens living abroad. 

The president also called on foreign passport holders in Turkey to spend their holidays in Turkey. 

“I want to tell them: ‘Your work is here, your vacation is also here,’” he said. 

“Our ministry provides new and very attractive opportunities for the employees of 50,000 companies with foreign capital in our country by fostering cooperation with the tourism sector. The employees of companies with foreign capital are invited - not only for themselves but also for their employees abroad - to spend at least one week of their vacation in our country, making use of this opportunity,” Erdoğan added.