MEA August 2017

26 MEA MARKETS / August 2017 , The newMinister of Culture and Tourismof Turkey, the Hon. Professor Dr. Numan Kurtulmuş, early this month announced his strategic vision of increasing travel and tourism as the engine for improving relationships between countries and cultures. Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey Outlines Strategic Vision As Turkey’s tourism begins to recover in 2017, Mr. Kurtulmuş has set a target of 50 million international visitors to Turkey by 2023. While that goal is expected to generate $50 billion in economic impact, Mr. Kurtulmuş said the most valuable result of increasing tourism is forming the foundation for a stronger global community through the better sharing of ideas and values between cultures. “Few countries have as wide a variety of tourism and cultural attractions as Turkey, including – and, perhaps most importantly – its figurative and physical position as a bridge between East and West that embraces visitors from across the globe,” Mr. Kurtulmuşsaid. “We see this strength as vital to our vision for bringing communities together, and we will invest heavily in public and private partnerships to ensure we are developing these tourism products to diversify our markets and audiences.” Turkey has already made progress towards its goals this year, with tourism to the country up 14.05% during the first 6 months of 2017, and up by 36.53% in June this year compared to June 2016. The country’s tourism assets are also being recognised in 2017 with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adding the Ancient Ruins of Aphrodisias to the World Heritage List in 2017, The New York Times’ naming the remote Aegean island of Bozcaada as one of its “Top 52 Places to Visit” this year, and Newsweek naming the 13th Istanbul Biennial on of the world’s top 5 exhibitions worth travelling for. “Turkey is one of the most diverse destinations in the world, with a richness of history, archaeology, gastronomy and geography from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, combined with art and culture that spans the ages yet is at the forefront modern innovation,” Mr. Kurtulmuş said. “I invite travellers from all over the world to discover the beauty of our country, whether the new UNESCO World Heritage site Aphrodisias, or the remote island of Bozcaada, which The New York Times called ‘a slower- paced way to see Turkey’. With so many varied characteristics, combined with Turkey’s history of hospitality from millennia of civilisations making the land their home, we have the potential to enrich our global community through cultural diplomacy.”