Indian arrival to Turkey is all set to get a boost under the hope that the air connectivity between India and Turkey is going to be strengthened. “We have a bilateral air service agreement which will be reviewed. The Government of India is in the process of reviewing the existing conditions regarding connectivity between India and Turkey. Soon, we will have not only Turkish Airlines but other companies including Indian companies will connect two countries. This will be not only from Mumbai and Delhi but also from other Indian and Turkish cities. This development should take place in the next few months,” Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Ambassador of Turkey to India, said at an interactive session with travel media at his residence recently.
Speaking further, he said that Turkey is one of the leading business destinations in the world. “Last year, we hosted more than 32 million international visitors in 2017. We expect this figure will reach to 40 million by Turkey is one of the leading business destinations in the world. Last year, we hosted more than 32 million international visitors in 2017. By end of this year, we expect this figure will reach to 40 million in 2018. By end of 2018, we expect number of Indians visiting Turkey will reach to 200, 000,” he added. Turkey welcomed 87,000 Indian visitors in 2017.
He informed that Turkey is gradually emerging as a MICE and wedding destinations for India market. “MICE is another area where Indian companies are very much focused on. In the past 12 months, Turkey has hosted groups from several Indian conglomerates who organized their annual meetings in Turkey,” the Ambassador informed. According to him, Turkey is becoming a popular destination for young Indian couples who plan their marriage. “In 2017 and 18, Turkey hosted more than 10 Indian weddings. For next year, more than 20 Indian weddings are booked in Turkey. This indicates that by 2021, Turkey will host around 100 Indian marriages,” he opined.
The Ambassador was quite keen on strengthening the people to people exchange between two countries. “Indian should go Turkey and vice versa to enjoy the hospitality and diversity of each other’s country. “For this to happen, connectivity has to improve. You cannot ask tourist to make stop over somewhere in the Gulf on both ways and spend 3 to 4 hours for transit,” he said adding that travel associations from India needs to support the Embassy’s efforts.
Speaking on the occasion, Deniz ERSÖZ, Culture & Tourism Counsellor of the Turkish Embassy, said that Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Troy and Izmir are extremely popular with Indian travellers. “However, Bodrum and Marmaris have also emerged as major tourist attractions in recent past. In addition to that, Konya where Celaleddin Rumi spent his last 45 years, the sacred site where he was buried is also among the popular destinations for Indians,” ERSÖZ said.
Replying to a question about the new International Airport in Istanbul, Torunlar said that the new airport is designed to accommodate 200 million passengers in a year. The airport will be thrown open for operations on October 29, Turkish National Day, he said.