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I am a Turk
Turkey’s touristic popularity increasing
“By looking at statistics and making contacts at fairs, we hope that this year 20 million tourists will come to Turkey,” said Touristic Hotels and Investors Association Chairman Timur Bayindir. “We also expect $18 to $20 billion in tourism income. This was the estimate of the World Trade Organization for Turkey for the year 2010. Events such as big congresses, the UEFA Championship League Final Match and Formula 1 mean that Turkey is able to promote itself very well.”




Current figures and reservations show that Turkey’s popularity increased this year. Bayindir noted that 3,853,079 foreigners visited Turkey between January and April of this year, saying that the number of tourists increased by 22.2 percent over the same period in previous years.

According to data obtained from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of tourists coming to Turkey in April increased by 27 percent compared to last year. The number of tourists, which was 1,104,207 million last April, reached 1,348,619 for the same period this year.

Bayindir pointed out that the UEFA match May 25 in Istanbul meant that the hotels were full, with some people staying “in hotels in neighboring regions like Kumburgaz, Sile, Yalova, Izmit and Kilyos. We expect some $30 million in tourism revenue from this event.”



The Turkish Tourism Investors Association is planning to provide elements that would make investments easier, according to its chairman, Oktay Varlier, These will help tourism investors invest wherever they want in Turkey. Varlier continued: “You had to apply to 19 different places to establish a company in the past. This has been reduced to three. Foreign investors can now make investments in the information, sector but it is important to improve the investment environment in Turkey, to reduce real interest rates and inflation, and to provide economic and political stability. We see that both domestic and foreign investors have tended to invest in tourism over the last year or two.”





Noting that European tour operators mostly prefer to invest in Turkey’s southern coast, Club Iremtur executive board chairman Sadettin Ulubay said the number of investors putting money into cultural tourism was very low. Ulubay was critical of the fact that despite Turkey’s enormous cultural wealth, its tourism had been launched solely in sea, sand and sun. Pointing out that there was no support for investment in Turkey but that there was for tourism promotion investment, Ulubay suggested that there should be an increase in the variety of touristic products. “Turkey has much historical and cultural wealth to promote in addition to branches of tourism such as congress, marina, yacht, cultural, health, golf, entertainment and shopping. There are incentives like a 40 percent investment discount and tax and fee exemptions.”
 
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