The Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Economic Affairs Directorate prepared a report titled "Tourism in the AK Party period" and submitted it to the party's organizations across Turkey. The report explains Turkey's tourism goals and tourism transcript since 2002 with a significant emphasis on the expectation of generating revenue of $32 billion this year. The AK Party's tourism report presented by Cevdet Yılmaz, the party's deputy chairman in charge of economy, outlined that tourism operations make up 10 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. He also noted that the tourism sector grew by 7 percent worldwide last year, and this year the expectations point to 4 to 5 percent growth in the sector.
Yılmaz pointed out that Turkey has diversified its tourism sector.
"Back in 2002, people would think of only resort towns when talking about tourism, but Turkey has managed to expand its tourism sector into the sports, gastronomy, thermal and healthcare sectors, also broadening activities in religious tourism," Yılmaz said.
He also added that the changes in the tourists' behavior and diversifying tourism destinations will help Turkey capitalize on its potential.
Within the framework of Turkey's 2023 Vision, the country aims to attract 50 million foreign tourists and generate an income of $50 billion from tourism activities.
The AK Party's report highlighted that tourism sector in Turkey boosts employment and compensates for the trade deficit while ensuring the continuity of liquidity thanks to its potential to bring in cash.
The report also pointed to the growth of the tourism sector in the 16-year rule of the AK Party. The number of tourists rose to 33 million from around 12 million to 13 million, and tourism revenues increased to $27 billion from around $13.5 billion. In terms of the number of incoming tourists, Turkey ranked 17th in the global listing, but in 2016, the country's ranking rose to 10th place.
Out of the total number of global tourists, 1.9 percent visited Turkey in 2002, but this ratio rose to 2.8 percent in 2017.
The AK Party's report also drew attention to the fuel incentive provided for the travel agencies to support tourism. In 2017, 86 travel agencies benefited from TL 565 million ($117.46 million) in fuel incentives for flights.
Due to the relative decrease in the numbers in and revenue of tourism due to the developments in the region, particularly in Syria, the number of foreign tourists in 2017 reached 32.4 million last year, while the revenue reached $26.3 billion.
The highest tourism revenue of the last 15 years in Turkey was recorded in 2014, at $34.3 billion. Tourism revenue is also expected to soar this year to $32 billion, the AK Party's report said.
Turkey enters top 10 in the
number of international visitors
The number of foreign visitors to Turkey stood at 13.3 million in 2002, while in 2014 the highest figure was achieved with 36.8 million visitors, according to the bulletin citing the number of tourists coming to Turkey. Underlining that for 2018, 40 million tourists are expected to come to Turkey, the bulletin informed that considering Turkey's tourism potential in the international arena, Turkey ranked 10th in the world in the number of international visitors with 31.3 million foreign tourists in 2017 according to the World Tourism Organization.
The bulletin highlighted that travel agencies play an important role in expanding and diversifying the tourism potential of the country.
"The number of travel agencies, which was 4,465 in 2002, reached 9,162 in 2016. Given Turkey's tourism potential, we expect this upward trend to continue in the coming years," the bulletin read.
It was reported that the number of Culture and Tourism Ministry-certified
beds was 619,000 in 2002, while it reached 1.2 million by the end of last year.
AK Party has always emphasized the importance of tourism
The bulletin stressed that the AK Party has always emphasized the importance of the tourism sector, which is one of the major foreign exchange revenues of the countries, saying tourism produces services with Turkey's own facilities, products and assets, which in turn increases the contribution, power and value of the source generated by the tourism activities.
"As the ruling AK Party, we will continue to implement policies that will improve our potential in the tourism field from now on. We will continue to direct all kinds of investment, communication and development potential in the fields of culture and tourism. We will continue to increase our country's share in world tourism by increasing its competitive power," it said.
It was stated that the success achieved in coastal tourism will be displayed in alternative tourism types such as winter, health, nature-adventure and sports.
"The fact that warnings against travel to Turkey lost their severity reflected positively on the tourism statistics in 2017," it continued. "We will continue to implement rational tourism policies to reach both the 2018 and 2023 tourism targets. With developing and diversifying tourism, we will make significant progress in reducing the current account deficit, which is our fundamental issue, as well as improving our national income and employment."