Turkey's resort city of Antalya has become a top destination for Indian couples tying the knot in lavish, million-dollar weddings.
The city has already hosted 12 such weddings this year, with a number of bookings already placed for the next year.
Even the lowest-budget wedding has seen Indian couples spend at least $500,000. The guests prefer the city's unique nature and the sea and were very impressed by the all-inclusive hotels and resorts.
Bünyat Özpak, the managing partner of Inventum Global, one of Turkey's leading MICE - meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions - operators for Hindu weddings, said that they had difficulty explaining to their Indian guests they could benefit from all facilities - including accommodation, food and drinks; for a single fee. "The way we offer all-inclusive service is something new for them. We have adjusted our costs very well. They were very surprised to hear that," he said.
He added that wedding ceremonies are very important events for Indian families. Özpak said that families start to save money for wedding ceremonies as soon as their children are born. He attributed this to the opulence of Indian wedding ceremonies.
"Antalya has been on the rise as a destination for Indian weddings in recent years. Our Indian guests prefer a lot of colors and a lot of spices. So, we fly in special chefs as well as tons of supplies from India for wedding ceremonies," he said.
Özpak said that they have already started to receive bookings for 2019 and everything has progressed well so far. "We have received bookings for 11 weddings. We have also been discussing another 25 weddings. A few of the weddings that we have been paid for already are very important and will make a tremendous impression. One of them will be for a world-renowned businessman. If nothing goes wrong, we plan to hold 40 to 45 weddings next year," he said. He said that they have been making a great effort to bring more Indian weddings to Antalya, saying that they were satisfied with the general course of affairs.
"We still have some problems that we could not overcome," Özpak said about the visa requirements for Indian tourists. "It is a major problem and we lose a lot of time. We do expect a lot more Indian tourists but they need visas. They have also complained about this situation. If we want to bring in more Indian tourists, we should either remove visa requirements or switch to an electronic visa system as we did for Chinese tourists."