Reduced tourism budget has room for Israel, Syria

Reduced tourism budget has room for Israel, Syria

Reduced tourism budget has room for Israel, Syria

This photo shows the ‘fairy chimneys’ in Cappadocia, which will be one of the top destinations presented in Turkey’s overseas tourism advertising for the next year.

Turkey has slashed its tourism promotion budget by over half for 2012, yet the country is still intent on attracting visitors from surprising destinations like Israel and Syria, according to official figures.

The Tourism Ministry will spend $45 million to promote the country as a tourism destination around the world during 2012 – down from the nearly $96.8 million it allocated to promote the country this year.

While the largest proportion of the available budget, $7.5 million, will go to Germany, roughly $1 million will go toward Turkey’s promotion in Israel, despite the two countries’ strained relations since last year’s deadly raid in which nine Turkish activists taking part in an international aid flotilla were killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara. The ministry will also spend $400,000 in Syria, even though the Arab republic has been wracked by an uprising for the past half year.

Companies interested in promoting Turkey abroad next year must hand in their bids to the ministry by Sept. 29. The ministry has decided to hold the auction for the 2012 advertising at its Culture and Promotion Undersecretary in Rome; the auctions generally close by the end of November.

Following Germany, the largest part of the available budget will go for promotion in Russia at $5 million and the United Kingdom and the United States at $4.5 million and $4 million, respectively. The smallest budget available, $200,000, will go for promotion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tourists’ expenditures per head as well as tourist stays should be prolonged in 2012 compared to previous years, according to the ministry’s strategy. It is seeking to promote many kinds of tourist activities, such as cultural, golfing, winter, congress, yachting, youth, health and ecological tourism.

İzmir, Cappadocia, Nemrut to shine

As part of the marketing campaign, people’s lifestyles in Turkey will be depicted in the foreign advertisements. “Turkey must be positioned as a modern country with an established cultural heritage, offering different lifestyles and unique travelling experiences.”

The country’s diverse arrange of destinations will also be stressed in the advertisements, particularly in places such as Istanbul, the Aegean province of İzmir, Central Anatolia’s Cappadocia region, as well as Mount Nemrut in the eastern province of Adıyaman. International sporting, cultural and artistic activities will also be promoted.