Turkey welcomed 29 million in-bound tourists in 2010 encouraging analysts to predict an increase for this year, according to Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, the co-organisers of the upcoming Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC, Istanbul, February 7-9 2011).
He was speaking ahead of the region’s first-ever forum to throw the spotlight on tourism and hospitality investment and development.
“Turkey is the new hot-spot for tourism development. The country is vast, varied and interesting – all key contributors to a compelling offer for leisure and destination travellers.
“However, to support the demand the infrastructure must be swiftly enhanced but carefully enhanced. Turkey has a golden opportunity to ‘do it right’ by looking at more mature destinations and considering ‘what not do’.”
Turkey was visited by 26.5 million tourists in 2008, a 13 percent increase over 2007 while 27.3 million tourist visited in year 2009.
Worsley said that opportunities for tourism development are Turkey-wide, but suggested that immediate attention should be given to Istanbul, Mugla, Antara, as well as developing key beach front locations.
Looking at Istanbul – considered the country’s gateway, Worsley said that the hub is undersupplied with 31,500 rooms.
“Presently, international and regional hospitality flags have about 2, 500 new rooms in the medium term pipeline for Istanbul up to 2015 but this is not enough to fill the anticipated demand for rooms.”
Citing speciality tourism as a driver for bullish growth, Worsley said that medical, leisure and golf tourism will fuel the demand.
“The country’s golf tourism has seen massive growth last year, and medical tourism is expected to grow around 16 percent in next three years.
“Add to it, the growing leisure tourism and Turkey becomes a hot spot for developers with an appetite to meet this demand.
He said that CATHIC will bring leading developers and consultants to Istanbul to witness the potential for themselves and discuss how the Turkish and the Central Asia region will drive the future growth of greater region of the Middle East and North Africa,” he concluded.