Can we see Turkey’s tourism as a brand?
Turkey is a brand. In fact, all the countries in the world are a brand in this huge stock exchange of humanity. They are a brand with their science, human resources and production. Each country is a value with the television, mobile phone and automobile brands it produces.
For instance, the U.S. embassy holds a reception each year on its independence day. The world’s most powerful and richest country’s embassy does not spend money on this reception. Did you know that it holds this reception with sponsors? The back of the invitation is full of the brands of the sponsors because the United States markets itself as a brand.
Its brands’ diversity represents the welfare of its own citizen.
When the Korean prime minister holds an official visit, you will see the flags of Korean cars and automobiles on the protocol road. A flag of a Korean automobile next to the Korean flag.
It is the same with Japan. The British counsel general basically works like a marketing director to explain Britain’s industry.
And he is very successful.
Years ago I was at the Turkish embassy’s reception in Riyadh. I saw the Japanese ambassador talking energetically to the members of the royal family hoarding dossiers in his hands. I was curious and when I went to see what it was about, I realized that he was talking about the works of the Japanese engineers. Just like a marketing officer.
An ambassador does not mean the state’s unreachable big brother. The ambassador is the person to market his/her country’s values as a brand.
Tourism is our brand
Why I am talking about all this? Because tourism is our brand. I have been observing a negative campaign regarding Turkey. The destination of tourists that were to come to our Aegean coast is being diverted toward Greece and the Western Mediterranean.
I was told that a tourist who came yesterday to the holiday town of Köyceğiz said: “We were told there are refugee traffickers in Turkey’s coasts. But since we have been coming to Turkey for years, we didn’t believe it.”
Indeed, if tourism is an important brand value for us, we should not let this brand lose its value. It is easy to criticize, to preach, to judge...
Here are some suggestions from me:
On the financial dimension
-Local boards should be established in order to determine the investors who have credit debts from last year and who are today in dire straits.
-The mayor and the representatives of the tourism sector especially in Antalya, the biggest region, should do a quick damage inspection.
In terms of the Foreign Ministry
The Foreign Ministry could form a joint commission with the Tourism Ministry. Alarm bells should be ringing for our ambassadors in countries where negative propaganda is being done against our country. They should be asked to work like a marketing agent. I do know that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who is from the Antalya region, is very sensitive to this issue.
In terms of keeping morale high
Indeed, we are experiencing pain due to terrorism... On top came the crisis with Russia. And the refugee incidents have had a worsening effect. Facing all of this, are we to lose faith? Is it too difficult to boost our morale for this beautiful country?
I wish all workers in the sector, from those working in hotels to the tour operators, all the best of luck for a summer that will prove difficult.