Indian couples drawn to Turkey to tie the knot
Some 20 Indian weddings have been organized so far this year in Turkey, bringing Turkey an income of $50 million, an executive at an Indian wedding organization firm based in the province of Antalya has said.
The figure is the highest number recorded so far in a year, Bünyat Özpak, co-owner of Inventum Global, told daily Hürriyet. “Some 13 weddings had taken place last year. This is an important rise, this is a first. In the history of Turkey, this is a record [for Indian weddings],” said Özpak.
Antalya is one of the most preferred places for Indian couples who want to tie the knot in Turkey. Indian couples also prefer the Aegean resort town of Bodrum in Muğla and the historical region of Cappadocia in Central Anatolia due to its picturesque view.
“For the [Indian] weddings, Antalya is the most preferred place. But [Indian] weddings also take place in Bodrum and Cappadocia. The low season of Antalya is between November and March [as it is not swimming season]. And since India is hot, the couples prefer chill weather,” said Özpak, emphasizing the importance of weddings to make Antalya a tourism hot spot for the whole year.
The preparations for these weddings start months ago. Thousands of guests are hosted in these hot destinations once the weddings take place, creating jobs and booming the economy of places.
Özpak said that Indian couples mostly prefer Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore if they want to hold their weddings abroad. “But if we express ourselves well [as Turkey], we can talk about not 20-30 weddings [a year], but 1,000. There are families that spend between $500,000-1 million for a wedding. And there is no upper limit for this. Turkey’s tourism infrastructure is very strong,” he said.
Özpak said that the total value of the Indian wedding industry is estimated to be worth around $40 billion. “If we, as Turkey, can do the necessary works, we can get a lot more share from this number,” said Özpak.
There is a visa requirement for Indians wanting to come to Turkey and the same is valid for Turks wanting to go to India. And such a procedure affects weddings in a negative way, according to Özpak.
“In such weddings or group organizations, the visa is the first criteria when choosing a country. Thailand and Dubai, which similarly host Indian weddings, do not apply visa requirements. There are even those ones that give incentives amounting to 20-50 euros per person for Indian weddings. If [visa] flexibility is provided for India, more and bigger weddings can be held in the shortest time,” he said.
India, one of the two countries in the world with a population of more than 1 billion, ranks second in group events after the U.S. and first in wedding tourism.
Turkey, which wants a share of the billion dollar worth Indian wedding industry, has made serious progress in the last two years with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to India in 2017 and the efforts of local tourism companies.