Turkey sees 50% increase in tourists from Mid-East
The number of tourists heading to Turkey from the Middle East for annual holidays has increased from almost 500,000 in 2003 to over 750,000 in 2005, according to figures released by the Turkish Government.
Officials hope the numbers, which represent a 50% rise over two years, will continue to grow as they embark on a campaign to promote Turkey’s cultural heritage in the region.
“We are making concerted efforts to highlight the tourism potential of Turkey to people in the Middle East,” said Mr Abdi Keskinsoy, Turkey’s culture and tourism attaché to the UAE. “We are now planning to raise the profile of Turkey’s artstic and cultural heritage, which may benefit the tourism industry further.”
Keskinsoy also voiced his support for ‘Gilded Letters’, a debut exhibition of Turkish Islamic art taking place in Dubai during Ramadan.
“As a government we must motivate and support Turkish artists who offer their work to countries with which we share such common values,” said Keskinsoy. “We are people of the same religion, the same culture and, to an extent, the same history.”
‘Gilded Letters’, taking place at the Dubai Heritage and Diving Village from 4th October, marks the Middle East debut for world-renowned Islamic calligraphers and gilders Muammer Semih Irtes, Mamure Oz and Recep Cengiz.
Hailing from Turkey’s famous Topkapi Palace, the group will exhibit a gallery of their distinct work featuring decorative letters and pure gold. The framed pieces are all for sale with prices starting at $1500 (AED5,509).
There is evidence to suggest that regional interest in Turkey already reaches beyond the tourism sector, encouraging organisers of ‘Gilded Letters’ to anticipate a successful event.
“The work has been well received in Western countries.” said Idil Akin, general manager of Mosaic Organizations. “However, we believe exhibiting Islamic arts on ‘home soil’ will demonstrate the significant meaning it holds here in the Middle East.”
Recent achievements for Turkish companies include the unprecedented success of dance group ‘The fire of Antolia’ (Anadolu Atesi) on a recent tour of Middle East cities and in construction, Turkish company Yapi Merkezi winning the high profile contract to maintain the Dubai Metro.
“We are increasing all bilateral relations with the Middle East,” confirmed Keskinsoy. “Our new government has activated a serious programme aimed at improvement in all areas.”
‘Gilded Letters’ will run from 4 October - 6 November between 5.00pm and 10.30pm in exhibition hall one at Dubai Heritage and Diving Village. The event is supported by Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.