Mountain areas can attract tourists in summer with little investment, says Austrian trade commissioner in Turkey
Turkey has excellent potential to further develop tourism from the beaches of the Mediterranean to the lakes, mountains and other natural beauties of the country, according to the Austrian trade commissioner in Istanbul.
The country has some difficulties to develop its mountain areas as summer tourism centers, but it can be overcome with a little investment and new ideas, Georg Karabaczek, the head of Austria’s commercial office in Istanbul Advantage Austria told Anadolu Agency.
While Austria has a population of only 8 million, it hosts 50 million tourists annually, Karabaczek said, adding: “This success doesn’t come over night and it’s not easy to stay on top”.
He noted that the tourism sector requires substantial investment because tourists are very demanding, demanding excellent accommodation, good services and entertainment.
Karabaczek stressed that the sector has to invest a lot, but also must earn money first, and said: “This is only possible if the seasons can be made longer and summer and winter be used efficiently by the resorts.”
He also said Turkey has very well-known winter resorts like Uludag, but have difficulties attracting tourists in the summer seasons.
“But with a little investment and new ideas it should be possible to overcome the problems,” Karabaczek noted, adding that Turkey has many opportunities for receiving foreign investment from Austria.
Referring to the Infrastructure Sector of Winter and Mountain Tourism summit in Uludag organized early March by Advantage Austria, he said it brought the Austrian companies and Turkish authorities, as well as tourism service providers together to exchange ideas and discuss concrete projects.
“I am very happy to hear that the discussions went very well and good ideas and projects were developed,” he added.
“Uludag summit was a first for us. We have been planning this event for the last 2.5 years. We were asked to organize it again to facilitate the exchange of ideas between all participants and help develop the tourism sector in our countries.”
Last year, more than 45 million foreigners visited Turkey, up from nearly 39.5 million in 2018, and the country’s tourism income reached $34.5 billion in 2019.
Austrian firms active in Turkey
Mentioning Austrian companies’ investments in Turkey, he said Austria, of which investments reached $10 billion in Turkey so far, is a big investor in the country.
These investments were in energy, packaging, building material, insurance and banking, and 250 Austrian companies are active in Turkey, he said.
“Every year we support more than 1,000 Austrian companies wanting to do business in Turkey, we also organize specialized events or participation in trade fairs.
“Winter Tourism summit on Uludag falls into this category,” he highlighted.
He also reminded that Turkey has a trade surplus with Austria, with €1.8 billion ($2 billion) exports, and €1.15 billion imports last year.
“If we add foreign trade with services, we see a trade volume of approximately €4 billion.
“I believe it could be more, the potential is there. Unfortunately, the last few years were quite difficult for the business communities, but I am sure it will develop in the next years,” he added.
Turkey important partner for Austrian companies
Karabaczek stressed that Turkey is among the top 20 markets for Austrian companies and a big one with a promising future in Austria’s vicinity.
“It is a market with a young, well-educated population, which promises high growth rates in the future, but Turkey is also a natural partner for third country ventures,” he said.
Turkey is an important partner for Austrian companies in carrying out projects in third countries and providing source products, he noted.
He also said Austria, which has a good location, can also be a good hub for Turkish exporters to Europe or the Balkans.
“We firmly believe that the business potential between our countries is much bigger and worth developing.
“None of the Austrian companies in Turkey left despite the difficulties in the last few years,” he said, stressing that many more will start business in the country following the economic reforms and normalization of the situation.