Turkey ‘may lure’ Chinese tourists despite setbacks

Turkey ‘may lure’ Chinese tourists despite setbacks

Güneş Kömürcüler ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey ‘may lure’ Chinese tourists despite setbacks

Around 114,000 Chinese visited Turkey in 2012, according to TÜSİAD’s China representative, who said the number is lower than the potential. DHA photo

There are increasing opportunities for Turkish tourism companies to establish partnerships with their Chinese counterparts, thanks to the Chinese government’s attempts to open the sector to foreign players, Turkish Industry and Business Association TÜSİAD’s China representative Iraz Turhan has told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Many Chinese people want to visit Turkey, but most of them could not due to the lack of communication between Turkish and Chinese tourism companies as well as the setbacks in the visa procedures, sector representatives said.

“The Chinese government has promised to open its economy to foreign players gradually, starting mainly from services industry, including tourism sector, in its 12th five-year Economic Development Plan. They then gave the business license to three tourism agencies with foreign partners in 2011. Turkish tourism companies could build partnerships with their Chinese counterparts and attract many more Chinese tourists, who spend a lot during their holidays,” she said.

Lower than Europe, US

Over 84 million Chinese people traveled abroad last year, according to official Chinese data, spending around $100 billion.

“Around 114.000 Chinese people visited Turkey in 2012, comparatively in small numbers to Europe or the United States. China is expected to send the most tourists abroad in the next five years. Turkish tourism companies may take a larger slice from this cake by building more direct communication with their Chinese counterparts,” Turhan noted.

In this manner, the difficulties in the visa procedures should be resolved between the two countries, sector representatives said to the Doğan news agency yesterday.

“One of my Chinese clients wanted to visit Turkey this year and applied for the required visa 10 days before his visit. Twenty-five days passed and he is still waiting for the visa,” a Turkish tourism agent from the southern Chinese province of Xiamen told Doğan news agency.

The representatives from the Turkish Consulate General in Beijing admitted some communication problems, but said that the complaints about the procedural setbacks were exaggerated. Sector representatives said that the number of the employees in the consulate was not enough to meet the demand from the Chinese people who wanted to visit Turkey.