Antalya's tourism sector eyes 10,000 Indian weddings
ANTALYAMar 24, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Mar 24, 2016 12:00 am
Considering that nearly 10,000 Indian wedding ceremonies are held abroad each year, tourism professionals in Antalya aim to attract wedding tourists from India where nearly 10 million wedding ceremonies are held every year and have a nearly $40 billion share of the global wedding market. Tourism companies in Antalya have focused on wedding tourism in an attempt to overcome the setback to the tourism sector caused by Russia, which started discouraging its citizens from visiting Turkey after the military jet downing incident last November.
According to West Mediterranean Development Agency (BAKA) Secretary-General Mehmet Sırrı Özen, the cost of all Indian weddings held abroad per year vary between $1 billion and $20 billion, adding that the Turkish tourism sector aims to hold at least 20 Indian weddings in Antalya a year. The agency also conducts focused studies regarding wedding tourism in India.
Wedding tourism has become increasingly popular for couples in Turkey and the world in recent years. The major obstacle to wedding tourism in Antalya is that foreign airline companies do not operate direct flights to the city. Organization consulting companies, which have been conducting research and development studies on the Indian market since 2013, introduced Antalya's opportunities to many companies that present ideas about destination weddings in the Far East, Sri Lanka and Dubai.As a result of these efforts, Indian companies started introducing Antalya on their websites as a strong, new wedding destination, and informed Indians about the city. As such, Indians have started thinking of Antalya as an alternative wedding destination.
Özen said 90 percent of tourists visit Turkey for the sea, sand and sun during the summer season under normal circumstances, adding that tourism alternatives must be diversified. "India, which has a $40 billion share of the global wedding market, can be a virgin market for Turkey," he said. Stressing that Indians do not know Antalya very well and count Turkey among distant wedding destinations, Özen said they would prioritize the promotion of the city. Tourism representatives plan to host Indian wedding agents in Antalya in May for business talks. They also want Indian movies to be shot in the city in the upcoming period to diversify tourism alternatives for Indians.
Özen also said they attach great importance to extending the tourism season through the entire year via Indian wedding ceremonies. As part of this goal, BAKA will hold an event in India from April 3 to April 9 to facilitate discussions with Indian tourism representatives. Emphasizing that Antalya and its hotels are very appropriate for Indian weddings, Özen said foreign wedding ceremonies that have been held in the city have left a good impression. Stressing that the performance of organization consulting companies is crucial, Özen said BAKA is ready to provide significant support to diversify tourism alternatives. "Not only hotels, but also florist shops and decoration companies gain from wedding tourism," he said.
Touching on recent terrorist incidents in Turkey, Özen said he does not think that such incidents will create a negative perspective of Turkey for Indian tourists or have a negative impact on the tourism sector. "Incoming tourists accept that terror exists in all parts of the world. There is no longer a thing such as a ‘terror region' in the world," he said. As Antalya's hotels are located outside of the city center with top security measures, the city has not experienced a negative incident so far.