Setting up a close tourism relationship with China has long been an important goal of the Turkish government, said Sabri Tunc Angili, the Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai, during a joint seminar held by the consulate general and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) earlier this month.
The seminar was themed "Discovering the Potential of Turkey" to promote tourism and investment between China and Turkey. In 2016, China declared 2018 to be its Turkey Tourism Year.
According to Angili, about 36 million international tourists – 300,000 of them were from China – visited Turkey in 2015, contributing $27 billion to the Turkish GDP. The country was hit with a spate of terrorist attacks, causing visitor numbers to dip. But the tourism industry quickly recovered. In 2017, about 200,000 Chinese visited the country and accounted for part of the $26 billion in tourism income.
"We are providing training and educational opportunities for our tourism workers and teaching them about Chinese language and culture. Our mission is to provide better service to our Chinese visitors," said Angili.
Deng Weijun, a veteran business insider from a travel agency in Shanghai, said that the average annual growth in the number of Chinese visitors to Turkey from 2011 to 2013 was 20 percent. The figure grew to 43 percent in 2014 and 57 percent in 2015 following the release of the reality TV show Sisters over Flowers in China, which was filmed in Turkey.
"I believe that the number of Chinese visiting Turkey this year will continue to increase because of our promotions," said Deng.
Noyan Rona, the chief representative of Garanti Bank in Shanghai, said that Turkey presents many advantages to investors, such as low labor and transportation costs. In addition, products manufactured in the country can enter the European Union without incurring tax.
"Eighty percent of Chinese investments in Turkey were made after 2013 when the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed," said Angili. "China invested 160 billion yuan ($24 billion) in foreign countries in 2016, and we would like to attract more Chinese investment."