Turkey hopes to attract 400,000 Saudis in 2013

May 21, 2013

Turkey is hoping to attract 400,000 Saudi visitors this year, an embassy official has said.

“Saudis tend to travel abroad mainly between March and September and we hope to capitalise on that,” Huseyin E.S., the cultural and media attache at the Turkish embassy in Riyadh, said. “We had 120,000 Saudi visitors in 2011 and 200,000 in 2012. Our aim is to increase the figure to 400,000 this year,” he said in remarks published by the Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya on Tuesday.

A bigger promotion campaign is needed to reach a larger number of Saudis and increase their awareness about Turkey’s natural beauty, historic assets and tourist attractions, he said.

“Arab tourists, especially Saudis, prefer natural places in Turkey, particularly areas with green spaces, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Istanbul, Bursa, Antalya and the Black Sea remain at the top of the places where tourists want to go. Turkey is a combination of the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, Europe and the Middle East” he said.

“At the same time, Turkey has outstanding cultural and geographical diversity and boasts of a deeply rich heritage and long-standing traditions that mix easily with a modern and sophisticated present. All this is supported by scenic beauty, a remarkable sense of hospitality, a rich cuisine and a multitude of shopping centres. Such attributes and more are highly appreciated by Saudis,” he said.

Officials in Pamukkale (Cotton Castle), one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, reported a remarkable increase in the number of Arab tourists.

“In the recent period, the number of Arab tourists increased thanks to Turkey’s popularity in the Islamic world,” Adem Oklu, Denizli Special Provincial Administration secretary general, told the Anatolia news agency in January. “There has been a 100 per cent increase in the number of Arab tourists this year.”

According to officials, Istanbul, the country’s cultural and business capital, is greatly appreciated by Arabs for its “enchanting blend of Eastern and Western culture, impressive vibrancy, youthful exuberance and unique identity”.

Turkish dramas have in recent years captured the hearts of viewers across the Arab world, creating a wave of regional interest in Turkey and giving a great boost to the number of Arab visitors to Istanbul and other Turkish areas.

Turkish Airlines officials in Riyadh said that the company “recorded a growth in passenger traffic of 43 per cent in the Saudi capital in 2012 compared with 2011”.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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