People from Gulf and Arab states are increasingly spending their holidays in Turkey, as they try to replicate the life seen in Turkish TV shows in the country, Ahmet Kırk, chairman of the Arab Travel Agencies and Tourism Development Association (ASATDER) said. Kırk added that people from Gulf and Arab countries watch Turkish TV series due to the common culture between them and Turkey, as well as the production quality of the TV series.
During an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Kırk said the importance of tourists coming from Gulf and Arab countries for the tourism sector is increasing with every passing day and that the demand from these countries continues to increase.
According to Kırk, popular Turkish TV series, including "Kurtlar Vadisi" (Valley of the Wolves), "Diriliş Ertuğrul" (Resurrection Ertuğrul), "Dila" (Dila Hanım), "Aşk ve Ceza" (Love and Punishment) "Ezel" (Ezel), "Gümüş" (Silver), "Aşk-ı Memnu" (Forbidden Love) and "Binbir Gece" (1001 Nights), which have been widely acclaimed in the region in recent years, have caused a boom in the number of tourists coming from these countries to Turkey. He added, "The positive effect of the Turkish series is seen mostly in the tourism sector."
Stressing that Turkish romantic and historical drama series are watched with great interest, Kırk noted that Gulf and Arab people like TV series shot in historical places, especially in Istanbul, so they want to see the actors and places where these TV series are filmed when they come to Istanbul.
Stating that there are similarities between Turkish TV series and popular TV series in Gulf and Arab countries, Kırk said, "They watch Turkish TV series due to their common culture and production quality. They want to spend their holiday in Turkey, as they find the life they dream of in Turkish TV series."
Kırk further said that Turkish TV series promote Turkey in the best way in the region, pointing out that this must be turned into a greater advantage.
Kırk also said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "one minute" response at the Davos Summit is still popular among the countries of the Middle East, adding, "After this, Erdoğan became even more popular, and after the increase in popularity of Erdoğan, the Turkish [TV] series also became popular, creating a significant increase in the number of tourists coming to Turkey. Whatever country Erdoğan visits from among them, the number of that country's tourists coming to Turkey increases that year."
Underlining that they have felt the positive consequences of the government's tourism policies over the past 15 years, Kırk expressed that Arab tourists take great interest in cities such as Istanbul, Bursa, Yalova and Trabzon.
He said, "We have chosen the Western Black Sea - Bolu, Bartın and Safranbolu - as the new route to be liked by Arab tourists. This is an undiscovered paradise, and we hope that both its proximity to Istanbul and its rich natural beauties will win the favor of Arab tourists."
According to Kırk, the income each Arab tourist brings to Turkey is higher than the ones that tourists from other countries bring. Touching on the fact that Arab tourists like their comfort and are self-indulgent, Kırk said they want to spend money, with each Arab tourist spending more than $600 a day. Moreover, Arab tourist groups that come with their families stay at least for a week - which means that they spend at least $7,000 to $8,000. "It is an incredible figure when compared to the expenses of tourists coming from other countries. They demand the best of everything from us and we try to serve as best as we can," Kırk concluded.