Minister blames statistics body for poor calculation
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Minister Günay poses at the ruins of an ancient theater in the province of Antalya. ‘If we do not save the cultural heritage, we will find no tourists in 10 years time,’ he says.Turkey’s Statistics Institute (TÜİK) failed to calculate Turkey’s total tourism income of last year, said Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister, who strongly criticizes the institution’s survey models and methodology.
“We recalculated Turkey’s tourism income [for 2012], and the real figure is above $28 billion,” Minister Ertuğrul Günay told the Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the Turkey Tourism Summit in Istanbul.
TÜİK had announced that country’s total tourism income in 2011 was $23 billion.
Criticism on methodology
“TÜİK conducts surveys at Turkey’s border gates four times a year and asks around 20 questions,” said Günay. “They are asking questions in a slapdash manner and only make an assumption,” he added.
Günay said the Finance Ministry has found out that the institution miscalculated the country’s tourism income by nearly $5 billion. Turkey’s tourism accelerated by attracting nearly 31.5 million tourists from all over the world, Günay said.
“Turkish tourism should not be made a victim of undeserved income and fraud,” he said at the summit. “We will not hand the tourism sector to greedy people.”
Many mayors of the cities in the western and southern coast of Turkey victimized the country’s top tourist destinations for the sake of “unearned income,” said Vural Öğer, member of the European Parliament with the Social Democratic Party of Germany. “Turkish government should keep an eye on these cities’ mayors,” he told the Daily News during the summit.
“We have turned some destinations such as the southwestern province of Kuşadası into a pool of concrete building by destroying nature,” Öğer said, adding that Turkey should focus on high class boutique hotels providing quality service within natural surroundings rather than continuing to offer low budget vacations in all inclusive hotels.
According to him, “concretization” is one of the biggest threats for Turkey’s tourism.
“Turkey has nearly three percent share in the world’s tourism revenues,” said Ümit Boyner, head of Turkish Industrialists and Business Association (TÜSİAD), adding that the sector was attracting attention more than ever.
Turkey’s tourism sector grew by 9.85 percent compared with Europe by 6 percent in last year attracting 31.5 million tourists last year according to Cumhur Güven Taşbaşı, Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Promotion. “World’s leading tour operators are focusing on Turkey and Spain, we will continue to invest more in promotion strategies of Turkey across the world,” he added.