The tourism sector plays an increasingly important role in the economy. From 1990 to 2004, the number of tourists increased by 280 percent to 17.5 million. Tourism revenue increased by 380 percent to $12.12 billion, making the country the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world, after China. The target is to welcome 50 million tourists annually by 2010. Nearly 5 percent of GDI is currently generated by this sector, which represents nearly 15 percent of employment and total investments of $35 billion for accommodation capacity of 450,000 beds meeting international standards and nearly 1 million beds in the guestroom category. Tourism is well developed, in particular along the Mediterranean coast, in Istanbul and in the central portion of the country (Cappadoce). Thanks to its natural resources and historical vestiges, the country has strong potential for further development. With exceptional coastlines as well as archeological and cultural sites, Turkey can exploit two categories of tourism: mass tourism interested in a seaside holiday and cultural tourism focused on sightseeing. Business tourism is also on the rise in Turkey, with six major conference centres in Istanbul hosting many international events every year.
Foreign investment in tourism amounted to $3 billion in 2004. According to the tourism organisation TYD’S, 15 percent of beds (65,000) are managed by foreign capital. German companies are the most active in this sector (Steigenberger, TUI, Neckermann and Club Robinson), followed by Swiss companies (Kuoni), French (Accor, Club Mediterranée) and Anglo-Saxon (Sheraton, Hilton, Ramada, Conrad, Hyatt Regency, Inter-Continental and Holiday Inn). The Japanese are also present, with significant holdings in the Swisshotel. The Canadian group Four Seasons, which already has a five-star hotel in Sultanahmet (Istanbul’s historic district), hopes to build a new hotel near the Ciragan Palace.
Major deals concluded lately include the sale of the Istanbul Hilton hotel for $255.5 million, Cyprus Turkish Airlines for $33 million, and the Büyük Efes and Büyük Ankara hotels for $121.5 million and $36.8 million respectively. The Tarabya and Bursa Çelik Palas hotels are on the 2006 agenda.
Wednesday 14 March 2007, by AFII - ANIMA