The launch of Turkish Airlines (THY) direct flights to designated target markets, including Mexico and Congo, has made a significant contribution to Turkey's economy, driving up the number of tourists and exports.
With the latest additions, the number of THY's direct flight routes reached 325 in 126 countries from 318 in 124 countries last year, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). The increase in the number has had positive effects on exports and tourism.
For instance, exports to Mexico, which is among the 17 target countries in the Trade Ministry's Export Master Plan amounted to $346 million in the January-June period this year, marking a 5%rise compared to the same period last year.
Exports to Congo during the same period rose 52%, hitting $27 million. Meanwhile, exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indonesia, France, Nigeria and Morocco, which are also part of the Export Master Plan, have also increased. In the first half of the year, THY has increased the number of destinations to these countries as well.
Exports to Nigeria reached $344 million in the first half of the year, from $195 million in the same period last year. Exports to the UAE, meanwhile, skyrocketed to $2.057 billion from $1.695 billion with a 21% rise. Exports to Morocco hit $1.318 billion from $1.115 billion with an 18% increase, while exports to Indonesia reached $161 million from $145 million with an 11% rise.
Exports to France, one of Turkey's major trade partners, surged by 3% to reach $4.620 billion from $4.468 billion.
The number of tourists from Mexico has also gone up by 63% – from 18,332 in the first half last year to 29,931 in the same period this year – following the launch of the direct flights.
In the same period, the number of Moroccan tourists was up 38%, from 87,107 to 120,411, and the number of French tourists was up by 22% from 417,709 to 509,317. The number of tourists from the UAE and Indonesia, however, declined during the same period.