Reports regarding visitors travelling to Turkey are encouraging to say the least and the Turkish Tourism sector is delighted. In the last few weeks reports that Russian and British holiday makers are returning to Turkey in great numbers this year and the figures expected for 2018 is indeed a real boost to Turkish tourism.
We are informed Chinese travellers are now on Turkeys most wanted list for 2018 and Turkey is hoping to secure Chinese holiday makers under the banner of “Turkey Tourism Year” in China within the framework of the “One Belt One Road” project. The target is a mere 1 million Chinese tourists for 2018.
The head of Wanda Real Beijing, which is owned by China’s Wanda Group, Fuat Köroğlu recently stated “that the declaration of 2018 by China as “Turkey Year” would create significant opportunities for the sector; the main problem of Turkey has unfortunately been wrong marketing policies. In order to evaluate this key opportunity, a comprehensive marketing and PR plan must be immediately prepared. The Chinese market is a very big and ready market,” Köroğlu said. “Marketing and PR work must be carried out to appeal to Chinese TV” he added.
Fuat Köroğlu went on to say “Chinese people mostly visit South Korea, Japan, Thailand, France, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Singapore and the Maldives. Some of these countries are the biggest competitors of Turkey in tourism. Detailed research should be carried out in order to understand why Chinese people mostly travel to these countries,” Köroğlu said.
In order to entice Chinese travellers, he stressed that Turkey also needed to diversify its tourism attractions “as Chinese travellers usually do not prefer sunbathing and swimming tourism.” It’s true to say from what we know about Chinese travellers they prefer to sight see and seem more interested in historical buildings, culture and Art. To date, Chinese tourists to Turkey favour Pamukkale, Istanbul and Cappadocia.
Murat Şen, the head of the Denizli Touristic Hoteliers Association and a board member of the Hoteliers Federation of Turkey (TÜROFED), said: “The number of Chinese tourists had soared since 2011”. While around 98,000 Chinese tourists visited Turkey in 2011, this figure climbed to 313,000 in 2015. The number, however, decreased last year amid security concerns and other negativities, according to sector representatives.
In the first five months of this year, around 81,000 Chinese tourists visited Turkey. “Our aim is to host nearly 300,000 Chinese travellers this year, but that is not enough. Nearly 180 million Chinese people travel abroad every year and spend a total of $250 billion,” Şen said.
“Turkish tourism players need to attend all tourism fairs in China. We must promote our destinations there, as most of them are unknown – In addition, flights should start between Turkish destinations that are very popular among Chinese travellers, such as between Pamukkale and Cappadocia,” he said, adding that this would help Turkey lure more than 1 million Chinese tourists. Hopefully, a very good relationship between China and Turkey will be forged.