After 2011 has come to an end most of us began looking back and doing calculations to see whether it was a good year or a bad one. This is also what Turkey’s Culture and Tourism minister has done in Ankara last week when addressing the other ministers of the country.
He was happy to announce for the first time that the number of tourists that visited Turkey last year is 30 million. The number represents an all time high, higher even than 2010 which was considered to be another profitable.
This number comes as a surprise to many, since the 2011 crisis and general of the Middle East cut into the number of tourists coming to Turkey, and many other countries in the region. So people were expecting a lower number, especially since the economic crisis also took its toll on the overall tourist numbers all over the world.
In order to realize the full extent of this growth, one needs only to compare numbers with 2003 when only 13 million tourists came into Turkey for the holidays. The minister has said that this number is due to the large investments made by the local government.
In the meantime, the Turkish Minister of Transportation was quoted by saying that the maritime sector is what needs a push next by lower taxes and eased regulations. The first sector they are expecting results from is the luxury cruise liners, which he said were very important for the country’s overall tourist income. This is why they have made a 50% discount for cruise services in 2012.
Comparing figures, the minister showed that in 2003 only 500,000 tourists disembarked from cruise ships into just 2 Turkish ports, while today that number has increased to 2.3 million spread between 11 ports.