Turkiye: Association seeks to expand tourism to all 81 provinces

The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) has launched its campaign with the aim of expanding tourism activities year-round to the country’s 81 provinces.

“With the ‘Century of Tourism’ project, we set a goal of increasing our country’s share of tourism even higher,” said Firuz Bağlıkaya, the president of the association.

“We aim to attract visitors from the high-income group to our country with project, which we are implementing in order to spread tourism activity confined to certain months of the year and coastal cities to all provinces throughout the year,” he explained, speaking at the ceremony for the launch of the project in the province of Burdur.

Despite the development in mass tourism,Türkiye has not been able to fully utilize its tourism potential considering its historical and cultural richness and natural beauties, Bağlıkaya said.

Turkish cities have not been able to exploit their potential over the past decade with tourism activities taking place mostly in only four or five provinces, he furthered.

It is only possible to draw more foreign tourists if other provinces join the tourism drive, according to Bağlıkaya.

Data from the Tourism and Culture Ministry show that Istanbul welcomed more than 17 million foreign tourists, or 35.3 percent of all tourist arrivals, last year, when Türkiye received a total of 49.2 million international travelers.

The share of Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, was nearly 30 percent or around 15 million tourists, while the Aegean province of İzmir hosted 1.5 million foreign tourists or a 3 percent share in total.

The northwestern province of Edirne accounted for 9.6 percent of foreign tourist arrivals. People from the neighboring countries visit the province for mostly shopping purposes.

“Another target is to draw high-income tourists to our country,” Bağlıkaya said, noting that the statistics show that the number of visitors from this income group declined compared with the previous years.

The average expenditure per foreign tourist was more than $1,000 in 2013 and 2021. In 2023, it was $979, according to the numbers of the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK).

The average expenditure per capita was $975 In the first quarter of 2024, when the country’s tourism revenues rose by 5.4 percent year-on-year to $8.8 billion.

More than 49 million foreign tourists visited the country last year with tourism revenues increasing 16.9 percent to $54.3 billion.

Türkiye aims to attract 60 million visitors and generate at least $60 billion in tourism revenues this year.

In January-April this year, foreign tourist arrivals increased 12 percent year-on-year to 10.65 million.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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