Turkey makes big push at leading tourism fair

Turkey makes big push at leading tourism fair

Turkey makes big push at leading tourism fair

Minister Ertuğrul Günay visits Turkish representatives at the world’s leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin. Turkey is represented in the fair with a huge showcase.

Turkey is one of the stars of the recently opened Berlin Trade Show and Trade Fair (ITB Berlin), one of the world’s leading travel trade show, boasting a huge 3,079-square-meter showcase.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay, who visited Turkey’s fair showcase March 7, the opening day of the event, said many governors and mayors from Turkey were attending the fair. “It shows that Turkey is giving more importance to the tourism industry,” he said.

Günay said Turkey hosted 31 million tourists last year and expected to host 32 million to 33 million tourists in 2012. “But our major goal will be to increase per capita income, rather than to increase the number of visitors. We want sustainable tourism; therefore, we need to protect our environment and green areas.”

Günay also signed a strategic partnership agreement with China related to providing transportation to Turkey for Chinese citizens via Germany’s TUI tourism company, Anatolia news agency reported.

Speaking before the signing ceremony, Günay said Turkey was one of the most important tourism countries in the world and that partnerships with foreign tour operators had contributed greatly to this.

“Our partnership with TUI is the most important of these. We want to work out new agreements for far away destinations, and one of these is for the Chinese market,” he said.

Günay said China had been one of the most quickly developing countries in recent years in economic and social fields and that some 50 million Chinese people travel to many parts of the world every year. “But Turkey’s share in this market is too limited. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey is not quite 100,000 annually.”

Aiming to attract more Chinese tourists
The agreement with TUI AG aims to increase the number of flights to and from China and attract more tourists to Turkey, the minister said. “People from China and the Far East are mostly interested in ancient sites, museums and cultural heritage tourism. We want to extend Turkish tourism in these areas, because Turkey is not only a sea and sun country.”

Michael Frenzel, the chief executive officer of TUI AG, said TUI had been active in the Chinese market since 2003, and they plan to work together with the ministry to determine the potential for Turkey in the Chinese market and launch a marketing campaign to increase Chinese awareness of Turkey as a holiday destination.

After the signing ceremony, TUI’s 2012 Destinations Awards were presented.

Günay also attended the opening of an exhibition of the paintings of Turkish artist Ergin İnan, which are being shown as part of ITB Berlin.

ITB is hosting 10,000 businesses and institutions from 180 countries. The fair, whose official partner country this year is Egypt, will continue through March 11.