Chinese firms seek partnership with Turkish carriers as tourism numbers grow

DAILY SABAH WITH DHA
ISTANBUL
Published 14.06.2019 00:01

Giant Chinese companies have been eyeing partnership opportunities with Turkish airline companies given the anticipation that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey will rise to 1 million in two years.

A Chinese company operating in the tourism industry has launched an initiative to partner with Onur Air both to grab a share of the growing passenger market between Turkey and China and to carry Chinese tourists to Europe with Istanbul-connected flights. Qian Minjian, deputy general manager in charge of relations with Turkey at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Chinese companies are open to cooperation with Turkish ones, adding that more Chinese companies will invest in Turkey.

Chinese companies continue to invest in Turkey in a number of areas including energy, infrastructure and banking. Parallel with the rise in political relations between the two countries in recent years, Chinese companies continue to search for new investment opportunities in the country. Finally, Chinese companies have made moves to form partnerships with the Turkish aviation industry considering the increase in the number of Chinese citizens coming to Turkey. Last year, a total of 394,000 Chinese tourists came to Turkey, up by 59 percent. The number of Chinese tourists in Turkey is expected to soar to 500,000 this year as a result of Chinese airline companies starting flights to Istanbul Airport.

If the rise continues at this rate, it is estimated that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey might surge to 1 million in two years. Based on this prediction, leading Chinese companies have started market research to cooperate with Turkish airline companies. One major Chinese tourism company with hotels met with Onur Air authorities to establish a partnership with the airline company. The company aims to grab

a share of the growing passenger market between Turkey and China and to carry Chinese citizens to Europe with Istanbul-connected flights. The talks are expected to be finalized in the autumn. In addition, China's high-level tourism authorities examined Turkey's tourism investments in Nevşehir in the company of Onur Air General Manager Teoman Tosun last month and held talks about tourism investments in the region, including hotels. Qian Minjian stated that Chinese companies have a very high opinion of Turkish ones, emphasizing that more Chinese companies will invest in Turkey. Indicating that Chinese companies continue to invest in Turkey, Qian Minjian reminded that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) purchased Turkish Bank. "This also shows that Chinese companies have a high opinion of Turkish companies. I hope our bilateral relations develop in a friendly and stable manner. Of course, our bilateral cooperation will proceed smoothly. In recent years, Chinese companies have been actively participating in relevant projects in Turkey. For instance, Chinese companies have joined projects such as the second stage of the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train, the Istanbul Kumport Port and Istanbul railway cars. All of these are very successful examples of cooperation, as well as very successful examples and results that we have achieved in aligning the two countries' development strategies."

Highlighting that Turkish-Chinese cooperation in the

field of politics and economy is increasing with every passing day, Qian Minjian indicated that the trade structure of the two sides has been developing further in recent years. According to Qian Minjian, more and more Chinese companies are investing in Turkey, and famous companies such as ICBC and Huawei have also settled in Turkey, and many Chinese companies in Turkey have established their own centers.

China Southern Airlines, the airline company with the largest fleet in China, has started flights from Wuhan to Istanbul in addition to existing flights from Beijing. Other Chinese airline companies, in an attempt to have a share of the growing tourism market, will start offering flights to Turkey. Sichuan Airlines started flying from Chengdu to Istanbul three times a week as of April 30, while Lucky Air is expected to start flights from Kunming, the capital and largest city of Yunnan province in southwest China, as of July. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines (THY) is working to launch flights to eight new destinations in China, including Xian and Xiamen, in addition to existing flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter