Türkiye seeks to double number of Chinese tourists in 2024: hoteliers federation


This photo taken on Oct. 8, 2023 with a mobile phone shows hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia, Türkiye. Cappadocia is a popular tourist destination in central Türkiye known for its distinctive volcanic geographical formations and hot air balloon rides. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

by Burak Akinci

ANKARA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) — Turkish tourism companies are working hard to double the number of Chinese tourists to half a million next year by launching promotion and early booking campaigns, Vice President of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation Murat Toktas said on Thursday.

“We expect at least 500,000 Chinese travelers coming to Türkiye in 2024, which is more than double the number of Chinese tourists that we welcomed in 2023,” said Toktas.

Türkiye welcomed some 210,000 tourists from China in Jan.- Nov. this year, up from 89,000 in the same period of 2022 and 26,000 in 2021, when China imposed restrictions on outbound group tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinese tourists pose for photos at the historical Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Türkiye, on Aug. 17, 2023. Istanbul, one of Türkiye’s most visited cities, welcomed on Thursday its first Chinese tourist group after China lifted the group tour ban to Türkiye on Aug. 10. (Photo by Omer Kuscu/Xinhua)

In 2019, Türkiye received some 430,000 Chinese travelers, according to government figures, but Chinese tourist arrivals dropped sharply during the pandemic.

“Türkiye has the capacity to host up to 10 million tourists from China in the mid and long term,” Toktas said.

Toktas emphasized Türkiye’s commitment to the promotion and early booking campaigns in bolstering the outlook for the country’s tourism market.

The increasing cultural and economic cooperation between Türkiye and China is a driving force for boosting tourism relations, he explained.

Tourists visit the ancient city of Side in Antalya, Türkiye,  April 2, 2023. Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast is expected to see a large number of tourists flowing in this summer despite the devastating earthquakes in February, industry professionals said. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

Turkish tourism industry operators are eager to welcome more Chinese tourists in 2024, said Irfan Karsli, head of the Istanbul-based Ligarba Travel Agency which organizes tours for Chinese tourists.

“We hope that China’s Spring Festival, which will be celebrated in February, would create a strong momentum for China’s outbound tourism,” he said.

Karsli noted that Chinese tourists were especially interested in historical and photo-friendly sites, such as the picturesque Cappadocia region in the central Nevsehir province, Ephesus in the Western Aegean province of Izmir, and Istanbul, one of Türkiye’s top tourist destinations, among other places.

This photo taken on Aug. 29, 2023 shows marble columns at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Türkiye. After two years of arduous restoration and consolidation, the Basilica Cistern, a 1,500-year-old Byzantine underground reservoir, finally has its hidden beauties and the stories behind its formation brought to light.
   Known for a huge underground chamber supported by marble columns, the cistern, also known as the Sunken Palace, is located on the ancient Istanbul peninsula, once the Byzantine Empire’s capital. (Photo by Omer Kuscu/Xinhua)

Türkiye’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told CNN Turk news channel on Tuesday that Türkiye’s tourism income in the first nine months of 2023 amounted to 42 billion U.S. dollars.

“We are on a good track to reach our annual target of 55.6 billion dollars in revenues despite headwinds,” the minister said, adding the devastating February earthquakes in southern Türkiye and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict were negative factors for the country’s tourism industry.

He also added that Türkiye welcomed 45.2 million visitors in Jan.-Sept., and expected to host 60 million foreign tourists in 2023.

The tourism industry is vital for Turkish economy as it brings much-needed foreign currency to reduce the current account deficit at a time when Türkiye is struggling with high inflation and other financial woes. 



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