An Istanbul summit next month will bring tourism industry professionals together with leading social media icons seen as a major opportunity to rejuvenate the local tourism sector
The Turkish tourism sector, reeling from this year's major drop in the number of foreign tourist arrivals, will have the opportunity to turn things around next month with a gathering that will attract 150 social media personalities from around the globe with followers numbering more than 80 million.
The social media icons will meet for the INFLOW Travel Summit, a series of digital marketing events beginning in Istanbul on Nov. 24 and 25. Participants will hold panel discussions, make speeches and have the chance to network, creating an opportunity for local firms to promote Turkey's tourism potential to the leading digital influencers in the industry. Among the events to be held are special tours of Istanbul and Cappadocia, in central Anatolia, a favorite tourist destination.
Among the participants at the summit, to be held at Swissotel The Bosphorus, will be the leading content providers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube, as well as hundreds of global tourism companies and brand representatives. Among the sponsors of the summit are Turkey's national carrier Turkish Airlines, the Tourism Ministry and the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB). The event will also be closely followed by companies such as UBER and TripAdvisor.
Emre Gelen, one of the founding partners of INFLOW, said the summit was the first of its kind in the world. "There are events that gather bloggers, Instagram or YouTube icons separately, but this will be the first such event that will assemble the leading personalities of each platform and allow them to meet with sector representatives. Because of the extent of the organization, there are applications to attend the summit from countries like Spain, Italy and Germany," Gelen said.
The summit will allow tourism professionals to meet social media icons to create new marketing strategies. The summit will also feature special meetings called B2I where businesses will get the opportunity to meet with influencers to find better ways to communicate with their target audience.
Gelen added, "We will hold a detailed tour of Istanbul during the summit, followed by a two-day tour of Cappadocia after the summit ends. We hope to ensure these 150 icons will share their impressions with their millions of followers to create positive feedback for the Turkish tourism industry."
Another founding partner of the gathering, Afşın Avcı, said INFLOW aimed to develop alternative markets for the local tourism industry. "While most of the social media icons will be from Europe, there will also be some from the U.S., Russia and India. They will improve Turkey's tourism image and, we hope, will create opportunities for the building up of alternative markets. Among those attending are those with followers from all age groups. While some focus on the population over 50 years of age, others mainly concentrate on teenagers. These icons greatly influence the travel decisions of their followers."
Photographer Murad Osmann, who became a social media phenomenon with photos of his hand-holding wife (right), will also be among those attending the gathering. World-famous filmmaker Rob Whitworth, blogger Johnny Ward, radio personality Henry Barchet and YouTube icon Krzysztof Gonciarz will also be in attendance.