Turkey keen to attract more UAE tourists

DUBAI — The UAE, together with other countries in the GCC region, has been considered as a very important market for Turkey's tourism endeavours, an official of the Turkish Tourism and Cultural Office (TTCO) said.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 2 Jul 2006, 10:14 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:05 PM

This was stated by Abdi Keskinsoy, TTCO's Cultural and Information Attache, at a travel conference last week at the Taj Palace Hotel in Dubai.

The meeting, attended by 40 travel agents, was organised by the cultural office, in coordination with the Turkish Consulate General in Dubai and Turkish Airlines in an effort to further promote Turkey in the UAE.

“In 2005, we have witnessed more than 50 per cent growth in the number of tourists from the UAE who visited Turkey as compared with the previous year's figures. An increase was also noted in other GCC countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia,” Keskinsoy said.

“Dubai is an important market to us because it sort of serves as the Middle East's tourism capital and a gateway to the Far East. This year, we are targeting 1 million tourists from the GCC region to visit Turkey,” added Keskinsoy.

He also disclosed that Turkey's promotional campaign in the region will work on a $3 million budget for broadcast, print, and outdoor advertisements. They also plan to surpass the 2005 statistics of 21.5 million tourists from all over the world.

Lale Kaplan, Regional Director of Turkish Airlines for UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Sri Lanka, said as the national flag carrier of Turkey, they are responsible in promoting their country as a tourist destination. “Turkey is an ideal holiday destination for people in the GCC region because of its geographical proximity as well as cultural similarity. We operate daily flights to Istanbul,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ihsan Yucel, Consul General of the Turkish Consulate General, said it is easy and convenient for GCC nationals to enter Turkey as visa can be given to them on arrival. The visa is a multiple entry visa valid for three months.

For the expatriate community, a normal visa may be obtained in two days while certain country groups can get their visas in 15 days or two weeks. The consul general, however, did not mention the countries under these groups because of the “passport-to-passport visa regulation” policy.

He also clarified that expatriates holding a diplomatic or official passports still need to apply for a visa prior to entering Turkey.

“Last year, there were around 7,400 UAE nationals and almost 6,000 expatriate residents who have visited Turkey.

Currently there are six airlines operating direct flights to Istanbul as Turkey is becoming a leading tourist destination for the Middle East,” Yucel said.

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