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Turkey gears up for record 33m tourists
April 2013 1530

TURKEY is set to welcome 33 million international tourists this year – its biggest annual arrivals forecast yet, according to estimates by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies.

Mehmet Önkal, co-organiser of the upcoming Turkey & Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference (Cathic) scheduled for May 29-30 at the Marmara Taksim in Istanbul, said this year’s inbound tourism revenues are expected to top $25 billion.

“Tourism is known to contribute to overall economic success by increasing job opportunities across a multitude of sectors, which in turn leads to increased consumer spending. Everyone benefits, as tourism becomes a catalyst for economic growth,” said Önkal who is also managing partner, BDO Hospitality Consulting.

Önkal cited World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) figures that suggest the sector directly created more than two million jobs in Turkey last year, and contributed 10.9 per cent to the nation’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

WTTC’s executive director, Geoffrey Breeze said inbound visitors accounted for half the sector’s GDP contribution.  He also noted that the GDP attributed to domestic tourism grew 4.9 per cent, almost double the rate of the international contribution, presently pegged at 2.5 per cent per annum.

“If the growth in domestic tourism continues at around five per cent each year, then by 2023 this will account for 59 per cent of total GDP contribution,” Breeze said.

Meanwhile, figures released by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture & Tourism suggest that international visitor numbers could, on average, top 50 million per annum in the upcoming decade, increasing year-on-year revenues in excess of $50 billion respectively.

Eric Danziger, president and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group, said: “We are investing a significant amount of time and resources into developing our presence in Turkey, and the neighbouring markets.”

Önkal confirmed that Cathic will address both the opportunities and challenges that Turkey and the greater region faces as they look toward achieving this growth, including the role of governments, regional air travel, and understanding international investment.

The programme includes a discussion on what is driving new investors into the market, as well as the appeal of Turkey for foreign direct investment. Other sessions include a look at what is driving the demand for the hotel sector and the impact of the global and European slowdown, alongside sessions from industry analysts.

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