100-day plan to supercharge Turkish tourism: Official

By Elif Ferhan Yesilyurt

ISTANBUL (AA) – Projects in the government’s 100-day action plan to supercharge Turkey’s tourism sector will make the world sit up and see Turkey as a major destination, a top tourism official told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

"These kinds of projects with cultural and art activities will bring Turkey to the global stage and make it a new destination for tourists with large disposable income," said Firuz Baglikaya, head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB).

The 100-day plan, unveiled last week by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be the start of the Turkish tourism sector's transformation, he added.

Projects to boost Turkey’s tourist draw are a major part of the action plan.

The plan includes projects to attract more Chinese tourists, improved travel infrastructure investments, and opening Gobeklitepe, the world's oldest temple, in Turkey’s southeast, to visitors.

Baglikaya said flight service to Far Eastern countries such as China and India will be expanded once Istanbul’s new airport opens this fall.

"We aim to attract more high-income tourists from China and India," he said.

Mentioning how China declared 2018 the Year of Turkish Tourism, Baglikaya said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey jumped 93 percent in the first half of this year.

"We will close the year with a record high number of Chinese tourists," he said.