Turkey's retail food and drink industry reached a worth of TL 110 billion in 2019, according to the chairman of the Turkish Restaurant and Entertainment Association (TURYİD).
"Annual growth for 2019 was just below $19 billion," Kaya Demirer said at the Tourism Investors Forum 2020 (TIF 2020) in Istanbul.
Supported by the Presidency Investment Office, TIF 2020 hosted a panel called "New Creative Economy and Investment Opportunities of Gastronomy Tourism." Demirer was one of the guest speakers at the panel.
Demirer remarked that Turkey has a solid stance compared to other countries. He said the food and drink industry is worth $900 billion in the U.S., $120 billion in the U.K., $100 billion in Italy and $53 billion in Spain.
Demirer is also confident about the industry's capacity to create jobs. "The food and drink industry might be the ultimate solution to low employment rates in Turkey," he said, adding that Turkey's young population is employed in this sector.
Touching on the role of foreign investors in the sector, Demirer said forming partnerships with local players is a must. "This goes for not only in Turkey but in every other country as well because there are different and unique dynamics in every country. I suggest that (foreign investors) cooperate with a local player for the initial period," he advised, noting that such partnerships help investors avoid initial mistakes that could hamper their business prospects.