Premier seeks out more Arab tourism
BURSA - Anatolia News Agency
Prime Minister Erdoğan (C), first lady Emine Erdoğan (3rd from right) and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay (R) launch the Turkish-Arab Tourism Meeting in Bursa. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has invited Arab tourists to Turkey to enjoy all four seasons and 365 days of the year.
Erdoğan said Turkey had witnessed a significant spike in the number of tourists from the Arab world and that even though Turkey was known as a country that had turned its face to the West, it had not turned its back to the East or the South, and would never do so.
“As we have done for 600 years, we see Arab nations as our brothers, friends and neighbors,” Erdoğan said during the Turkish-Arab Tourism Meeting in the northwestern province of Bursa yesterday.
Erdoğan expressed his belief that distance, borders, obstacles and barriers between Turks and Arabs for the last century were just virtual.
“Therefore, our government has established a different type of communication and cooperation with our old friends and brothers over the last nine and a half years,” Erdoğan said.
He added that it was the responsibility of all countries in the region to prop one another up economically and aid in the region’s overall development and welfare. “We are removing impediments to entry like visas,” said Erdoğan.
Turkey’s tourism revenues have increased significantly since 2002. In 2002, tourism revenues were around $13.5 billion, while they are now approximately $23 million, according to Erdoğan, who added that the number of tourists had risen from 13.5 million tourists to 31.5 million in the same period.