Türkiye enjoys tourism boom, says minister
Umut Erdem – ANKARA
“After a long hiatus, Istanbul has started to be listed in first place among the must-see destinations by the world’s leading tourism mediums,” Ersoy said during a visit to daily Hürriyet’s Ankara office.
“It receives visitors from all over the world, we can say that the city has become like the United Nations. The hotels are at full capacity and there are tourists of all nationalities.”
The situation in Istanbul is a reflection of the growing interest in Türkiye as a holiday destination, the minister said.
“We established the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) in 2019 in order to better promote the tourism potential we have,” Ersoy said.
“We are currently engaged in promotional and public relations activities, mainly on television and digital media, in 200 countries. For the last three years, we have been the country that has made the most intense and effective promotion in the world, and we get the results of these efforts.”
Ersoy noted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not stopped the tourist flow to Türkiye.
“Despite the conflict in the Black Sea region, we revised our target, which was 42 million tourists and $35 billion in revenues at the beginning of the season, to 47 million tourists and $37 billion,” he said. “The season is going very well, I hope we will exceed these revised targets by the end of the year.”
Türkiye must diversify its tourism markets and products and focus on “quality tourists” to stay strong in future crises, Ersoy added.
One of such efforts is to promote the country’s gastronomy.
“One of the results of the intense promotional activities of the TGA for Istanbul was to enter the Michelin Guide’s radar,” Ersoy said, referring to the series of books that awards up to three Michelin stars for excellence to a select few restaurants around the world.
“They announced Istanbul as their 38th destination in April and will announce the names of the selected restaurants on Oct. 11,” the minister said.
“I sincerely believe that this will support our efforts to position Istanbul as a gastro-city. Our next goal is to include Bodrum and Çeşme in the guide.”
The minister also highlighted the importance of health tourism.
“Health tourism is important for Türkiye, necessary infrastructure and hospital investments have been made,” Ersoy said.
“Those who come for health services come to Türkiye twice, and they also have a companion with them. At the end of the health service, they generally prefer to come for a third time for a holiday.”
Ersoy also played down recent stories in the media that argued many Europeans would spend winter months in tourism facilities in Türkiye to avoid the high cost of energy in Europe.
“It is not realistic to expect many tourists to Türkiye due to the gas problem [in Europe],” Ersoy said when asked about the reports.
“Uncertainties and uneasiness are obstacles to tourism. Reports arguing that a lot of tourists will come to Türkiye because of the energy crisis is magazine journalism. If your tourism product is good, the tourists will come. When we promote our country well and provide good services, the number of tourists will always increase.”