Route of Turkish tourism is changing, says Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay

Route of Turkish tourism is changing, says Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay

ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency
Route of Turkish tourism is changing, says Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay says that in order to diversfy tourism, the ministry plans to form ‘green voyage’ routes in the Black Sea region. AA photo

Turkey currently receives more than $25 billion from 30 million tourists every year, and this amount is expected to increase to $50 billion from 50 million tourists within the next 10 years, according to Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay.

Speaking about Turkey’s future tourism plans, Günay said that according to 2011 reports, Turkey was currently the sixth country in the world in terms of the number of tourists visiting, and that an important road map was being prepared to get it into the top five. Of the 30 million tourists who visited Turkey in 2011, over 10 million chose to come to the southern province of Antalya, which means that Turkey is generally seen as a country of sea, sun and sand.

Günay said that while this was not a bad situation, diversification was necessary for sustainable tourism. He said Turkey had a rich potential for this with its history, archaeology, natural beauty, cuisine and architecture. “Just like Italy, Spain and France, Turkey should add different dimensions of its culture to tourism,” he said, adding that they had started work to draw the attention of higher-income tourists. Günay said they had made significant changes in museums. “We have renewed all museum stores by collaborating with the private sector and universities to increase the number of objects and their quality. In this way, our revenue from museums stores has increased.

“We have renewed technology in museums and increased the number of visitors. Income from museums was 70 million Turkish Liras when I came into office at the end of 2007. We got an income of 256 million liras from museums at the end of 2011. This is a record in the history of Turkish Republic,” Günay said.

Works on local cusine
He also said that they were focusing on local cuisine as a tourism value, and that they would be bringing together all tastes from the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Middle East in the same pot. He said that Turkish cuisine was currently represented abroad with only a very limited number of dishes, despite its richness. “Very few Turkish tastes have been represented abroad so far. Döner and baklava are not bad, but Turkish cuisine is not made up of these only. We have started supporting high-quality restaurants in foreign countries in order to enrich Turkish cuisine abroad. We will also start to establish new cuisine institutes.”

In order to diversify tourism, Günay said they also planned to form “green voyage” routes as an alternative to the “blue voyage” routes on the Aegean coast. “These routes will begin from the Black Sea provinces of Samsun and Ordu, and continue through the plateaus of Artvin, without destroying nature. We are trying to attract tourists from the Gulf countries to the northern part of Turkey with the establishment of new accommodation centers on this route.”

Günay said the protection of blue and green areas was a condition for a sustainable tourism, and that they had developed a new application for the protection of nature.

“We give stars to accommodation facilities that achieve world standards, and paint these stars in green. In this way, we are trying to create the concept of an environmental hotel. We hope that four and five star hotels will reach this green star. We have finished the thermal tourism master plan in the Aegean, and there are new investments there. In the near future, Turkey will become better-known in tourism.

Stolen works back to Turkey

Speaking about the issue of stolen artifacts, Günay said the statue of Heracles that had been brought to Turkey from the U.S. last year had drawn great interest, and that they were focused on bringing in more stolen Turkish artifacts from Europe and the U.S. He said there were many artifacts that had been taken abroad without legal documents over the years, and that they were following a determined policy to bring these items back to the country in recent years. “We have made collaborations with some countries, but some museums insist on not giving them back,” he said, adding that the ministry had brought some 4,000 artifacts to Turkey over the last five years.
stolen works back to Turkey