Tourist surge leads to greater interest in Chinese language in Turkey

DAILY SABAH WITH DHA
ISTANBUL
Published 17.06.2019 00:24

The political, commercial and cultural rapprochement between Turkey and China has pushed the number of tourists coming from China to Turkey to record high levels. Around 400,000 Chinese tourists visited Turkey last year. If this number continues to rise at the same rate, the number of Chinese tourists in the country is expected to rise to 1 million in two years.

Thanks to Chinese airline companies starting flights to Turkey this year, it is estimated that the number of Chinese tourists will hit 500,000. The increase in the number of Chinese tourists has also led to great interest among Turks in learning the Chinese language. According to the data, Demirören News Agency (DHA) obtained from publishing companies, Chinese language learning books sales have reached a record high.

According to the information provided by publishers, the sale of Chinese language learning books has increased by 30 percent and the books are bought by individuals in every occupational group. Notably, sales have skyrocketed in the Cappadocia region. Haluk Hepkon, the owner of the Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House, said they aim to make an important contribution to building a cultural bridge between the two countries by offering Chinese language learning books to the readers.

Pointing out that the number of Turkish people aspiring to interact with Chinese tourists in their own language has gone up. "So, we have introduced teaching sets prepared for non-native speakers of the Chinese language. Parallel to the increase in the number of tourists, Chinese book sales have also soared." He said sales have gone up by 30 percent compared to the previous year. Hepkon said the strengthening of relations between Turkey and China thanks to the "One Belt, One Road" project has boosted Turkish readers' interest in China.

Hepkon's publishing house offers a book titled "The Way to Success, Chinese Teaching Book Series for Foreigners" which is specially prepared for Turkish readers wanting to learn the Chinese language by themselves. He said people from all parts of the society, including artisans, students and guides, take interest in the Chinese learning books. Indicating that the first two books have been a success, Hepkon stated that they will release other books of the series in the coming days. "There is a considerable demand for books in Cappadocia, which is the most visited region by the Chinese. Also, the Chinese buy Turkish language learning books. There is an increase in the sales of these books as well," he added. The Consulate General of China in Istanbul has been awarding scholarships to Turkish university students choosing the Chinese language in order to improve the relationship between Turkey and China and pave the way for learning the Chinese language. The number of students getting this scholarship has exceeded 100 in three years. Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus and Istanbul are among the most-visited places by Chinese tourists in Turkey.

Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) assigns at least one cabin personnel who speaks the native language of the country the flight is conducted to, in order to facilitate communication with passengers who do not speak any foreign language. Moreover, cabin attendants speaking Chinese at THY have also increased to a record number of 40. Cabin crews can now communicate with the Chinese in their own language during flights.

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