In the lead up to the public holidays marking Eid Al Adha in September, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism is looking to visitors from Gulf countries to offset the recent slump in the nation’s tourist numbers.
Tourism is a critical source of Turkey’s GDP – the sector generated USD 35.1 billion in revenues in 2015 – but recent events have taken a toll on the sector. The ministry is therefore turning to visitors from the Gulf region for support, in particular visitors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, which have in the past represented the highest volume of visitors to the nation.
“In spite of recent events, there are no security concerns in tourist destinations in Turkey. These facilities are, and will continue to be, completely safe. Hospitality services remain undisrupted and the comfort of foreign citizens visiting the nation continues to be a priority to us,” notes Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information from Turkey to the UAE.
In recent years, the influx of tourists from the Gulf region into Turkey has surged; visitors from the region are estimated to contribute as much as six per cent to the Turkey’s average annual tourism revenue. In fact, an impressive 582,698 Gulf tourists visited Turkey in 2014. As per the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism created 580,000 jobs directly in 2014 in Turkey, which translates to 2.2 per cent of the nation’s total employment.