More than 500 tour operators and travel agents from around the world are expected to converge on Istanbul for the first Turkish inbound travel show and conference from 3 to 6 June. Travel Turkey 2004 will be held at the Feshane Exhibition and Congress Centre and will encourage the trade to sell more Turkish content. German event organiser Hannover-Messe International (HMI) is organising the show with the support of the Turkish government.
Travel Turkey is aimed at international buyers of travel-related services. It will motivate buyers to expand their business in Turkey by providing a single showcase for the country’s diverse array of travel content. Turkey currently generates nearly two percent of all tourism revenues worldwide, but HMI says the country’s potential is still largely untapped.
A wide range of travel content will be on show, including eco-tourism, adventure, sporting, art and culture, educational and fitness holidays. Istanbul itself will be promoted as a city-break for European visitors. Travel buyers will see a full selection of content, including accommodation, tours, technology solutions and finance and insurance services.
Doris Petersen, managing director of HMI Istanbul, acknowledged that Turkish tourism had been impacted by instability in the Middle East, especially since the second Gulf War and the terrorist bombings in Istanbul in November last year.
“We do have a perception issue to deal with. Travel Turkey will help show the trade that the country is far removed from the war zone, and that visitors are as safe here as anywhere else in the northern Mediterranean,” Petersen said.
“Travel buyers will leave Travel Turkey 2004 with new ideas and profitable services for creating unique travel itineraries for their customers. Turkey has an incredibly rich mix of natural wonders and historical and cultural attractions. The fair will demonstrate Turkey’s charm, geography, cultural diversity and gastronomy.”
Travel Turkey has the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and is seen as a key partner in the Turkish government’s efforts to promote the country as an international travel destination. Visitor numbers have increased steadily over the past decade, from 7.8 million holidaymakers a year in 1995 to 13.9 million in 2003. The country wants to double these numbers and is aiming for 30 million tourists a year by the end of the decade.
Petersen attributes recent growth to Turkey’s affordability as a destination. This, together with the targeted growth figures, provided a strong incentive for travel companies to get involved in the country, she said.
The four-day show will feature two ‘professional days’ for business meetings. Conferences and workshops will facilitate an exchange of information and ideas between exhibitors, industry experts and attendees. The remaining two days will be open to the general public to promote the event to consumers