Located in the northeastern Black Sea coast of Turkey, Ordu seeks to diversify its agriculture-based economy with new tourism and industrial investments to yield a profit from its unique natural beauty.
Columnists and correspondents from various publications of the Turkuvaz Media Group as well as Ordu's mayor, governor and businessmen from local chambers gathered together in the city for the Province Meetings event organized by Daily Sabah's sister publication, the Sabah newspaper.
Delivering an opening speech at the ceremony, Sabah columnist and economist Şeref Oğuz said the event aims to discuss local opportunities in detail and discover the cultural heritage and natural beauties of each district in terms of tourism.
Ordu Mayor Enver Yılmaz made a speech after Oğuz and said one of their aims is to increase the province's population to 2 million, which is already around 750,000, by utilizing local resources and diversifying the economy with new investments.
"We have been trying to establish a convenient environment to make people, who immigrated to Istanbul or other provinces, return to their hometown. With three new industrial zones in construction process, 15,000 new employments will be created. [A total of] 14,000 people already returned to Ordu. We come second place in house sales in the Black Sea region," the mayor said.
Ordu's economy is mostly based on hazelnuts and the industries related with it. While nearly 70 percent of the world's hazelnut production is being yielded in Turkey, Ordu comes first in Turkey's production. Besides hazelnuts, the province also holds first place in honey and kiwi production in Turkey.
Ordu Governor Seddar Yavuz said Turkey has been in a "silent revolution" during the last 15 years with the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the country's economy grew 3.5 times including many strategic sectors. He said that Ordu had its share from this growth, but there is still a lot to do, especially to evaluate the province's tourism potential. "We have a growing interest from Arab tourists. Considering its tourism opportunities, sea, green and clean air, new investments should be made in all kind of tourism in Ordu," he said. Yavuz added that Ordu contributes to the financing of Turkey's deficit with $200 million as the province makes $300 million exports to 56 countries and $100 million imports.
The governor also touched upon the necessity of bringing modern agricultural techniques and renovating aged hazelnut fields, calling on investors to make investments in the province.
Significant transportation investments have been made in the province in recent years. The first airport of Turkey and Europe that was built on a sea embankment due to insufficient plain space on a highly-mountainous region was taken into service in 2015. The number of annual passengers at the airport has reached 1.3 million. Another vast transportation project that aims to connect Turkey's Black Sea and Mediterranean regions with a highway is aimed to be finished in 2019.
In the second part of the event, a panel chaired by Oğuz was organized and attended by Ordu Mayor Enver Yılmaz, Ordu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Servet Şahin and Fatsa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Tayfun Karataş. The participants discussed ways to earn better revenues from hazelnut production with industrial investments and branding. Karataş also emphasized that the province is intact compared to its neighboring provinces including Trabzon and Samsun, which hosts a great number of tourists and has become a favorite place especially for Arab visitors in the last few years. Ordu's potential to attract more tourists was also discussed in the meeting.
Ordu currently hosts nearly 630,000 domestic and 70,000 foreign tourists. The authorities aim to host 3 million tourists in four to five years.
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