Turkey looks to welcome over half a million Chinese tourists this year

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 03.06.2019 00:04

Having hosted nearly 400,000 visitors from China last year, Turkey is continuing promotion activities in the Chinese market to welcome more tourists. While the number of flights between Turkish and Chinese cities has been on the rise with the recent launches, Turkish authorities aim to host over 500,000 visitors from the Far East nation.

Ankara's Ambassador to Beijing Abdülkadir Emin Önen drew attention to the increasing number of promotion activities in the country and said, "2018 was a record year as we have facilitated 60 Turkey-oriented promotion activities in China. Our goal is to surpass 500,000 in the number of Chinese tourists this year." Recalling that 2018 was celebrated as Turkey Tourism Year in China, Ambassador Önen noted in a statement to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Saturday that their goal was to invite at least one million Chinese tourists to Turkey. According to the Chinese statistics, around 130 million Chinese citizens travel around the world every year.

In April, Turkey opened a huge pavilion at the Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition, where architectural features and various dishes of the seven geographical regions of Turkey were introduced.

"It is a unique opportunity for Chinese tourists. Thus, they experience Turkey without going to the country. In this sense, after visiting this place, the Chinese tourists' interest in Turkey further increases," he added.

Ambassador Önen highlighted that nearly two million Chinese visited the area in this period, making the Turkish pavilion the most popular section of the exhibition.

The envoy recalled that the embassy formed cooperation with authors, newspaper columnists and influencers with over a million followers on social media, Ambassador Önen said more than six delegations were sent to Turkey's top tourism cities in this scope.

Visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Urfa, Mardin, Gaziantep, and the Black Sea in cooperation with Turkish Airlines (THY), the Chinese delegations shared the places they visited and their articles on social media and introduced Turkey, Ambassador Önen said.

"We have received very good feedback on the delegations in regard to the increase in the number of Chinese tourists," he continued.

He pointed out that Turkey had a role to play to arrange the eating and drinking habits in the hotels in accordance with the Chinese tourists' tastes and to increase the number of Chinese-speaking guides.

Evaluating the increase in the number of flights between Turkey and China, Önen recalled that China Southern Airlines launched Beijing-Istanbul and Wuhan-Istanbul flights, while Sichuan Airlines, another prominent airline company in China, scheduled flights between Chengdu and Istanbul. He added that another Chinese airline was also planning to fly from another city to Istanbul.

Stressing that some problems with regards to increasing THY's flight frequencies were handled with the Chinese aviation authorities, Önen said they took some steps for the THY to launch flights from Xiamen, a port city on China's southeast coast, and to Xian, which marks the Silk Road's eastern end and is home to the famed Bingmayong (Terracotta Army) and the 13-century-old Great Mosque of Xian.

"Hopefully, we aim to fly to at least one more city in 2019. In 2020 or following years, I hope we will push the capacity to fly to other cities," he said, stressing that a capacity equivalent to the existing passenger capacity would be added in this way.

Elaborating on the activities of the Turkish Embassy in Beijing to promote Turkish tourism Önen noted that they sent a professional group of museum experts to Turkey to dub works at 32 Turkish museums in the Chinese language. "The voiceover project is now available as an application. A Chinese tourist who goes to Turkey is able to listen to the works of art in 32 Turkish museums in their native tongue via this app," he explained. "A similar project to add 32 more Turkish museums is in the works," he added.

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