The number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey in the first six months of this year climbed 91 percent to 191,000, compared to the same period last year. Turkey, renowned for its cultural treasures as well as its natural beauty, has experienced an influx of foreign tourists recently. According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, around 18.9 million tourists visited Turkey in the first half of 2018. Russians tourists led the way with 2.4 million, followed by Germans and Iranians.
The increase in Chinese tourists was partly affected by China's declaration of 2018 as the "Year of Turkey," Xiao Zhang's song about Turkey as well as other promotional activities to revive tourism in the country.
One of China's most popular singers, Zhang's new solo, "I want to take you to romantic Turkey," has become a popular hit in the country's music scene. Many Chinese have shared the song on their social media accounts while many more have become curious about Turkey.
Most of the Chinese tourists visiting Turkey preferred historical sites like Pamukkale, Bergama, Ephesus, and Cappadocia. Istanbul has also become a top destination for Chinese tourists.
The 100-day action plan, announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to increase the number of visitors from China, will further boost these figures.
Xuan Yen Yii, a Chinese tourist visiting the historical sites in İzmir's Bergama district, told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that she decided to visit Turkey after watching a commercial on TV.
"Chinese artist Zhang's song about Turkey is also very popular in our country. After listening to this song, people began to make plans about visiting Turkey. I joined this tour to see Bergama. When I return to China, I will recommend Turkey to my friends. We have not seen the works from the Roman and the Hellenistic period. I will most definitely tell my friends to come here and see them," Yii said.
Xian Yii, 17, who was traveling with her mother, said she liked the country very much.
"We have the chance to see historical monuments we saw in books, this feeling is incredible," she said.
Xocai Wiyn, another Chinese tourist, said that she was impressed by the promotional activities online and her friends also recommended that she visit Turkey.
Wiyn said that she plans to return to Turkey again.
"My next visit will be in winter. I want to get on the balloon and see Pamukkale from above. I have not gotten used to the food yet, but I guess I will be in time," she said.
Another tourist from China, Tuu Lii Yunyn said that she had already seen the beautiful photographs of Turkey and made reservations to see the places first hand.
She said she was very happy to have spent some time in Turkey with her family.
"I am looking forward to a hot air balloon tour in Cappadocia," she said.