Infrastructure expansion to reinforce tourism industry

Published 03.10.2019 00:00

Turkey's New Economic Program (NEP) has outlined projects and studies that would boost capacities at airports in major tourist destinations, increasing accessibility and boosting the country's tourism industry.

The NEP for 2020 and 2022, announced by the government Monday, included actions and projects related to main macro indicators, such as inflation, employment, growth, exports, and current account deficit.

The program promises that the country's transportation infrastructure will be upgraded to improve accessibility in the tourism industry.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry are expected to sign a protocol to that end.

Particular importance would be given to infrastructure works in the Mediterranean holiday resort of Antalya, which handles the highest number of air passengers after Istanbul. The infrastructure works will further boost the city's potential to attract more foreign tourists by increasing the capacity of the city's airports.

As part of the program passenger capacity of Antalya Airport and Gazipaşa Airport, located in the district of Alanya, will be expanded, while an additional runway will be put into service at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport, located on the city's Anatolian side.

The construction of the second runway built parallel to the existing runway at Sabiha Gökçen Airport is already underway. With the commissioning of the new runway, expected to be completed by year-end, the existing runway will go into maintenance.

Once maintenance is completed, both runways will operate at the same time. Thus, the capacity of the airport, which was used by 23.5 million passengers as of the end of this August, is expected to rise to 65 million annually. The project for a new cruise port in Istanbul's coastal neighborhood of Yenikapı is planned will be implemented through a built-operate-transfer (BOT) model by 2022.

Officials recently said tender bidding for the port project will be held by the end of this year.

Ports are an important part of Turkey's efforts to reinvigorate cruise tourism in the country, as it is making moves to eliminate the lack of ports, one of the biggest problems facing the sector.

The new port would enable Turkey to claim a higher share in the world cruise tourism, which has an estimated annual turnover of around $35 billion and serves some 28 million passengers.

Among other projects within the NEP, the government will also create tourism plans for the Far Eastern market, including China, India, Japan and South Korea. Named target markets, these countries constitute an important part of the country's efforts as it seeks to diversify tourism markets.

2018 was declared Year of Turkish Culture in China, while 2019 has been declared Year of Turkish Culture in Japan. South Korea's Consul General in Istanbul, Jessy Yeunju Jang, also called for 2020 to be the Turkey-Korea Tourism Year.

Announcing Turkey's tourism strategy for 2023, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy Friday said Turkey would focus more on China, India, South Korea and Japan, which are considered as resource markets fueling world tourism growth.

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