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ITF chairman lauds Turkey's tourism industry

The Taipei International Travel Fair (ITF) ended on a high note yesterday, with a record-breaking 77,000 attendees arriving on a single day during the four-day event. The total number of attendees that participated in this monumental event well exceeded 200,000.

At a travel seminar organized by the Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA) yesterday, board member of the Turkish Hotels & Restaurant Association Esra Degirmenci shared the key to successful tourism marketing in Turkey. Host Su Cherng-tyan (蘇成田), the ITF chairman, praised Turkey for its success while remarking on the rapid 8.3-percent growth of tourists who traveled into the country from 2010 to 2011.

“Having the Turkish government actively investing in tourism activities has been essential, whether in collaborating with various Turkey tourism offices or participating in numerous media advertisements and even Hollywood films,” Degirmenci said.

“We have many organizations and media groups who work with the government bureau to invite and accommodate filmmakers from other countries,” she explained.

Boasting a country that is rich in history and culture, Turkey was ranked the sixth most-visited country according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization's “Tourism Highlights Edition.” The country received 31.4 million tourists in 2011, who contributed US$23 billion to the country's economy. “We have 8.1 million visitors in Istanbul daily,” Degirmenci said.

President of Golden Formosa Travel Jean Chang also lauded Turkey's tourism sector, stating that airline companies and hotels have worked very hard in designing travel incentives. “Turkey is a big tourism country. Those who have traveled there have wanted to go there again, because its so worth it,” she said.

In developing a country's tourism industry and making it known on the international stage, Su stated that substantial government support is necessary. Although the government has begun to invest into Taiwan's tourism sector recently as a driving force for the nation's economy, Su believes Taiwan still has a long way to go. “We all have the experience of going abroad, telling foreigners we're from Taiwan, and they think we're from Thailand, right?” Su jokingly said.

Citing the Turkey Tourism Encouragement Law enacted in 1982, Su said, “This means, that their government has been actively developing the tourism industry, implementing effective mechanisms that would help build up the travel businesses.”

“Before 2000, developing Taiwan's tourism has not been a main drive on the government's economic agenda,” Su explained. “But in recent years, the government has begun to invest in this industry and hopefully Taiwan's tourism market will pick up its pace.”

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International Taipei Travel Fair (ITF) Chairman Cherng Tyan Su (蘇成田, right) and Esra Degirmenci, board member of Turkish Hotels & Restaurant Association, smile during a discussion at a Travel Seminar, yesterday. The seminar was organized as a platform to discuss the successes of Turkish tourism. (Akie Ang, The China Post)

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