Turkey fully booked for congresses until 2019
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
An expected 13 million tourists will visit Istanbul this year, noting that international congresses were set to attract millions to the city in addition to traditional tourist draws like cultural artifacts. DHA photoTurkey has reached its full capacity for congress tourism events until the year 2019, according to Association of Turkish Travel Insurance (TURSAB) Chairman Başaran Ulusoy.
An expected 13 million tourists will visit Istanbul this year, Ulusoy said, noting that international congresses were set to attract millions to the city in addition to traditional tourist draws like cultural artifacts.
Overall, the country will receive an estimated 35 million tourists and $26 million in tourism revenues, according to Ulusoy.
“Antalya is the center of vacation, and Istanbul is the capital of culture and congresses,” Ulusoy recently told daily Hürriyet.
The intense increase has caused other sectors to jump at opportunities, with over 30 hotels currently under construction around the city. The capacity for incoming guests to stay will rise an extra 50,000 from the current 127,000, Ulusoy said.
If things go as planned, Turkey will receive 55 million tourists in a decade’s time, 25 million will come to Istanbul, according to Ulusoy.
New congress centers, like the Efes project that received a 150 million-Turkish Lira investment, and increasing numbers of events, symposiums, fairs, conferences and the like are on a rapid rise, Ulusoy said, while adding that severe alcohol restrictions were causing business circles and tourism bosses to worry.
“Our concerns over the alcohol ban continue,” Ulusoy said. “Tourism establishments were exempt, and there’s talk that these exemptions will end. We don’t know the end results, but these exemptions have to be kept. It’s a vital subject for tourism.”
Parliament’s General Assembly adopted a highly controversial alcohol bill early this morning that was proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), tightening restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages despite strong objections against the bill on the grounds of personal freedom and respect for lifestyle choices.
The proposed bill has been causing a stir in both business circles and the public, with alterations added and restrictions slightly softened in the face of extreme criticism.
The proposal, however, was swiftly put on the agenda, despite protests from the opposition, and was eventually adopted early this morning following debates that ran on past midnight.