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BLOG Turkey aims to woo tourists from India

15 October 2018 / Lifestyle

Is Turkey eyeing up Indian tourists for 2019?

2018 was declared Turkey Tourism Year in China. Is Turkey eyeing up Indian tourists next year?

This year has certainly been an interesting year for Turkey. The Turkish Tourism Ministry, fully aware the country needed to boost tourist confidence following troubles in 2015 and 2016, put an ingenious plan in place to entice visitors from further afield - and it seems to have worked. Tourist numbers are booming. The streets of Istanbul and the coastal resorts are once again beaming with tourists and many cultural and heritage sites are already reporting record numbers of visitors. Attracted by a weak Turkish lira and diverse range of attraction campaigns, it's no longer simply the Brits and Europeans that are visiting Turkey. A new wave of travellers from Japan, China, Asia, India and the Middle East are now booking tours or taking vacations in Turkish resorts. Turkey is now back on track and well in line to exceed its 32 million tourist target for 2018.

Turkey Tourism Year in China

This year was declared 'Turkey Tourism Year' in China. In 2017 around 250,000 Chinese visited Turkey, mainly booking cultural tours around the country or exploring the likes of Cappadocia and Istanbul. In efforts to strengthen relations between the countries, a yearlong promotion was agreed that included music, arts, dance and Turkish events in China in an effort to boost bookings to Turkey. Chinese visitor numbers soared as a result. Last year's figures have already been exceeded and the numbers of Chinese tourists is expected to reach over 450,000 by December 31st.

But, Turkey isn't content with simply attracting the Chinese. New initiatives are constantly being announced to woo foreign tourists, trade and investment. More plans than ever before are now in place to strengthen relations with Asia and the Middle East. The latest plan is to attract travellers and investors from India. According to recent reports, a joint promotion campaign with India is now underway and from next year Turkey could see a rise in visitors from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. 

Indian tourists on the horizon

Back in 2017 we ran a blog about Indian weddings in Turkey. It covered the rising number of Indians travelling to Turkey to hold their wedding celebrations in major all-inclusive resorts. This trend started with Kemal Gupta, the son of one of the wealthiest Indian business tycoons opting to fully book the luxurious Marden Hotel in Antalya for his three day celebration. His wedding was said to cost over 10 million Euros - a nice little sum for the organisers and venue. This spurred a number of similar celebrations and more than 15 glitzy, glamorous, unlimited budget weddings were held in Istanbul and Antalya, many more planned for the future.

Turkey is an attractive destination for an Indian traveller. Many shared cultural beliefs mean Turkey is an enjoyable destination and direct flights mean it's easy to access. Mr H. Deniz Ersoz from the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in India said to the Deccan Chronicle earlier this month that Turkey is planning to rev up its tourism campaign in India targeting mainly the wedding and MICE segments. The report pointed out that many Indians were unaware of the all-inclusive deals and offers in Turkey. Many also knew little about some of the cultural similarities and sites and activities in the country that may be of interest. This new campaign will aim to spread awareness of what's on offer in Turkey and ultimately attract more Indians to the country in the coming year. If the promotion does work, it's likely that Turkish tourism will benefit greatly from the additional guests. If this year does end exceeding tourism targets, it's now possible that 2019 will prove even better due to campaigns such as this.

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