Indicating that 120 million Chinese tourists travel abroad every year and spend about $300 billion, Fuat Köroğlu, general manager of Wanda Realm Beijing, which belongs to the Chinese Wanda Group, said Turkey must offer Chinese food, understand Chinese culture and employ Chinese-speaking personnel if it would like more Chinese tourists to come to Turkey.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Köroğlu stressed that the economic cooperation between Turkey and China has developed and diversified rapidly, pointing to the fact that the Wanda Group will open its first hotel abroad in Istanbul next year.
Moreover, Köroğlu stated that Chinese tourists prefer to use their country's brands when they visit other countries, saying, "The hotel will bring Chinese culture to Istanbul. This investment is a good example of the future of mutual interactions between the two countries starting with the new Silk Road initiative. At the same time, it shows the trust that the Wanda Group has in the Turkish economy."
Köroğlu has stated that the hotel investment will not be limited only to Istanbul, saying the company plans to grow in other regions of Turkey as well.
TURKEY SUITABLE DESTINATION FOR CHINESE
Emphasizing that Chinese tourists are going abroad more as the economic power of China increases, Köroğlu said this development offers great potential for Turkey.
"The Chinese are the types of tourists who can travel for 12 months without thinking about the sea or sand. Turkey is a country that is suitable for Chinese tourists with its historical heritage and nature. In China, only the major cities of Cappadocia and Istanbul are known. Today, about 170,000 Chinese tourists come to our country and the target is to attract 1 million tourists. We should aim to bring 5 percent of all Chinese tourists travelling abroad to Turkey," said Köroğlu, adding, "Each year, 120 million people from China travel abroad, spending about $300 billion. If Turkey wants to gain Chinese tourists, they have to serve more Chinese food, understand Chinese culture and employ Chinese-speaking personnel. In short, in order to get a piece of the Chinese tourist pie, we should lay the groundwork for Chinese infrastructure with our employees and start working on establishing a Chinese presence in the food and culinary industry in Turkey as soon as possible."
Köroğlu stated that among the Chinese, the ratio of those who speak foreign languages, especially English, is low, saying the Chinese require explanatory texts and visual aids while being served.
Köroğlu stated that the year 2018 was declared the "Turkey Tourism Year" in China, adding that it is a great opportunity for Turkish tourism.
Pointing out that the way to the heart of Chinese tourists is through understanding and awareness of Chinese culture, Köroğlu said, "It is not enough for Turkish guides to be merely licensed translators. They have to be very competent in Chinese culture." For instance, Köroğlu indicated that encouraging Chinese tourists to visit Turkey's historic Topkapı Palace, a palace built on the same date as the Forbidden City in China, would increase interest.
A strategic business partnership agreement was signed between Mar Yapı and Wanda Group, one of China's largest commercial enterprises which also owns a chain of luxury hotels, at the end of February. The agreement regarding Wanda Vista Istanbul, Wanda Group's first offshore hotel to be built in Istanbul, will be opened in the city as part of strategic collaborations with Mar Yapı in the scope of its investments in Turkey across a variety of fields including technology, tourism, finance and real estate.