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Wednesday, 20 March, 2019, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Turkey targets 1 million annual visitors from India

Keen to showcase Antalya in the Indian market, beyond Istanbul
India has emerged as a fast-growing and an important tourism market for Turkey, and the country is now targeting 1 million annual visitors from this market. “We are promoting Turkey for the last 15 years in the Indian market. With Turkey becoming the most preferred destination for the Indians now, we are really happy seeing more travellers coming from India. Last year, we hosted 150,000 Indian tourists. Our target is to receive 1 million Indian travellers annually to Turkey,” expressed Emin ÇAKMAK, Chairman, Turkish Indian Tourism Council. He was speaking to TravelBiz Monitor at the Mumbai leg of their six-city India roadshow which was organised in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.

H. Deniz ERSÖZ, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic Turkey, said, “Turkey received 40 million tourists from all around the world last year out of which Istanbul received 12 million, whereas Antalya received 13 million alone. In the Indian market, our aim is to showcase Turkey beyond Istanbul.” 

Turkey receives a variety of travellers from cultural and religious backgrounds as well as celebrities for movie shoots. “However, Istanbul is more popular among the Indians despite Antalya having a lot to offer,” ÇAKMAK said. 

Explaining the positive factors of Antalya as a destination, ÇAKMAK explained, “Istanbul is the first destination in Turkey for Indians to land due to direct air connectivity. Also, Istanbul is a big city and can host thousands of people at one time. Antalya has a totally different concept which has not been explored by Indians yet. Once they do, Indians will travel more to Antalya than Istanbul because the hotels in Antalya are offering all-inclusive concepts which mean guests receive all the services on making a one-time payment of room booking. There is no additional charge for food or drinks during their stay. Not all destinations offer this concept. Also, the rates in Antalya are more reasonable.”

“We have strategies to attract Bollywood producers to Turkey as well, along with the Indian tourists”, mentioned ERSÖZ.

Commenting on the recent collaboration between Turkish Airlines and IndiGo, ÇAKMAK said, “To reach our target of visitors, the carrier, and the infrastructure should be in place. We are happy to collaborate with IndiGo, which will start direct flights to Turkey from March 20, 2019. First from Delhi for now, but we plan to add more cities to that list.” This increment in the number of direct flights will help Turkey gain more Indian tourists and also aid inbound traffic. For the last 10 years, both countries have shared good political and economic relations. 

Turkey has also improvised its visa procedure. With the 3-minute approval, it is easier for an Indian traveller to apply for the e-visa. The Consulate and the Embassy in collaboration with VFS Global are trying to make the visa and documentation process simpler and hassle-free. 

With the strategy of developing tourism, Turkey has shortlisted 12 countries for development, wherein India is amongst the 12; Russia and Germany also feature on the list.

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