Turkey unveils plans to rely less on package holiday tourism

Turkey has unveiled a shift in tourism strategy a week after the collapse of Thomas Cook.

The destination, which had 80,000 Thomas Cook customers in its hotels when the operator failed, had already been looking at ways to reduce its reliance on global tour operators.

Culture and Tourism Minister from Turkey Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last week that the fiscal and financial structure of the large tour operators presented a risk and in future the country needed to shift more towards non-package travel.

“We have already been planning to restructure the industry in Turkey to slowly increase the number of scheduled flights to accommodate both package and independent travellers and we have completed the necessary infrastructure,” he said.

The new strategy aims to attract over 75 million visitors and 65 billion US dollars in revenue a year by 2023 by switching to a ‘sustainable and income-driven model..

It has launched a new central ‘Tourism Promotion and Development Agency of Turkey’ in line with many main tourism destinations across the world.

The Ministry’s promotional budget will go up from $18 million in 2018 to $72 million in 2019 and the aim is to raise the budget to $180 million in 2020 and $220 million by 2023.

Turkey will diversify promotional activities and invest in multi-media campaigns.

It will also carry out research amongst the domestic market to improve product and develop new areas within the country.

Keeping digitalisation at the centre, it will focus on different types of tourism from gastronomy, health, shopping, education, sports and seniors to faith tourism, congress, festivals, events and cruise-yacht tourism.

This will see the creation of a A ‘Taste Map of Turkey’ with a new gastronomy route, routes for road and off-road bicycle tourism and the development of a number of bicycle-friendly hotels.

It will look to new markets in the Far East and Pacific, namely, China, India, South Korea, and Japan and developing Central and Eastern European markets.

Minister Ersoy added: “We will speed up our research into the development of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. We will support local authorities and will prioritise investments into existing tourism areas along the coastlines and we will concentrate on environmental certifications like Blue-Flag and Green-Star practices in properties.”

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