Turkey's tourism sector is looking forward to the opening of the Istanbul New Airport as companies in its target markets, especially in the Far East, are waiting to operate flights to Istanbul, Chairman of Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Firuz Bağlıkaya has said.
He added that various airlines companies that want to fly passengers to Istanbul are not able to do so due to the shortage of landing space. "From that perspective, the new airport is an essential and imperative need," Bağlıkaya said.
The TÜRSAB chairman said that with the new airport coming into service on Oct. 23, the number of flights will increase. It will make a major contribution to the number of tourists coming to Turkey.
He said that the new airport will also employ thousands of people. "A new city is being built, a magnificent, gigantic place. The third airport is also crucial in terms of tourists coming to Istanbul as well as connecting flights. It has almost three times the capacity of the current airport."
He recalled that the Culture and Tourism Ministry will prepare a "Tourism Master Plan," which will drive major developments in tourism and bring all relevant stakeholders together.
According to Bağlıkaya, the main elements of the plan are to spread the tourism season to 12 months and appeal to high-spending international travelers.
He said that the tourism sector, in general, welcomes the government's sector-related steps.
Bağlıkaya added that Turkey has identified China, India, Japan and South Korea as its new target markets. "China alone sends 140 million tourists abroad a year. Taking into account the other target markets of India, Japan and South Korea, this adds up to a total of 325 million tourists a year. Tourists from these countries spend $2,000 on average - almost three times higher than our current average. Therefore, we need to concentrate more on these markets," he said.
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