Gezi Park protests ‘didn’t harm’ image of Turkey’s tourism

Gezi Park protests ‘didn’t harm’ image of Turkey’s tourism

ANTALYA - Hürriyet Daily News
Gezi Park protests ‘didn’t harm’ image of Turkey’s tourism

Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards (C), gives the awards to Turkish officials during the ceremony held in Antalya. Company photo

Turkey’s image was not harmed by the anti-government Gezi Park protests in the summer time, but the country must focus on boosting its promotion through international events, Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards (WTA), nicknamed the Oscars of the travel industry, has said.

“What is important this week in the next five days which would affect Turkey, and its position in world tourism? It’s the 2020 Olympics announcement of where the event will take place and Istanbul is a strong candidate. This is what matters in the end. In the majority of the world there is so much happening, tourism continues,” Cooke told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview.

Istanbul is the third most visited city in Europe and it is increasingly attracting the region’s tourists as well, according to tourism guru Cooke, who also said the rising tensions in the Middle East had not had any effects yet. “The crisis in Syria also does not affect Turkey’s image, I was in Qatar quite recently then headed to Egypt. I see people travelling in this region and willing to, despite the crisis, and the brands of this region continue rising,” he said.

The World Travel Awards are some of the most important travel awards in the world of tourism today. Turkey received 28 titles in the awards this year, with many Turkish hotels and resorts taking top awards, as well as Europe’s Leading Tourist Board going to Turkish Culture and Tourism.

The western province of İzmir was named Europe’s Leading Cruise Destination and Europe’s Leading Cruise Port went to the Port of Istanbul in Turkey.

“Europe is a fiercely contested region for our World Travel Awards, and Turkey continues to serve all markets with luxurious brands offering unique hospitality products and services as well as all inclusive opportunities for the leisure traveler. It continues to raise the bar to constantly improve the standards of excellence in travel and tourism and it has been an honor and a real pleasure to hold our Europe ceremony in Antalya,” Cooke said during the ceremony.

WTA was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognize excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, it is regarded as the highest achievement that a travel product could hope to receive.