Popularity of Turkish soap operas leads Latin American tourists to flock to Turkey: Association
Turkey has recently witnessed a significant increase in arrivals from Latin American countries, where a Turkish television series known as “Telenovelas Turcas” are quite popular in the region, a leading tourism association has said.
In the first eight months of the year, more than 165,000 Latin American holidaymakers visited Turkey with a 70 percent yearly increase, the Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB) said in a statement on Oct. 22.
The association expects a double digit year-on-year increase in 2019 of the number of tourists from this market.
“We have enjoyed a significant increase in the number of arrivals from Latin American countries, mainly Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, in the last two years after a slump in 2016,” TÜROB President Timur Bayındır said, citing the huge popularity of Turkish television dramas in these countries.
“Turkish soap operas have been quite popular, especially in Argentina and Brazil, with most of them being broadcast during primetime hours. We have even seen some Latin American families name their newborn children after Turkish TV drama characters, like Elif or Onur. It would be great for Turkish officials to use leading TV drama actors to promote Turkey in these countries in a bid to attract more Latin American tourists,” Bayındır added.
Currently, the export of Turkish TV programs is estimated to be worth over $350 million annually, with sales to over 100 countries. Its sales volume and reach makes Turkey the second highest selling exporter for television content in the world.
The broadcast of Turkish dramas started with “Binbir Gece” (One Thousand and One Nights) in the Latin American market, with actor Halit Ergenç starring as a character of “Onur” and actress Bergüzar Korel as “Şehrazat.” Later on, “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love), “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (What is Fatmagül’s Fault) and “Ezel” were broadcast along with many others. For example “Elif,” which tells the story of an abandoned girl, has become the longest-running Turkish drama ever to air in Chile, according to local reports.