Press Release

25 Jan 2012

Pre-event interview with Turizm Guncel

All answers attributed to:

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events and CATHIC’s co-organiser

Questions General information about CATHIC

  • Which are the advantages CATHIC is offering to the participants?

It’s three-fold. Firstly, it is a content driven conference so it’s a great event to learn about new developments, best practices and opportunities in the market.  Secondly, this is an ideal place to network and to meet people who are taking the industry forward and to transact deals.  With the receptions there is plenty of opportunity to introduce yourself to movers and shakers of the sector as this year some of the biggest names in the industry will be attending. Thirdly and most importantly delegates get to see Istanbul and have a lot of fun!

  • Turkey’s geographical position and its role in the world tourism industry

Turkey is a leading hub of business and communication for the Central Asian region. It is also on the radar of leading players in the global hospitality sector for both inter-city and in-bound business travel. With regards to leisure travel, the history and culture as well as its’ geographical position is an added advantage to the Turkish tourism industry.

  • Turkey’s tourism potential

Istanbul attracted more than 8 million foreign visitors during 2011 according to figures revealed by the Istanbul Culture and Tourism department, an increase of 16 per cent over 2010 (6.9 million). Overall estimates for Turkey this year suggest over 33 million tourists visiting, compared to 30 million in 2011.

  • Turkey’s strengths and weaknesses in regard to tourism and hospitality
  • What are the biggest problems of tourism sector?

Turkey and Central Asia are witnessing steady growth in the hospitality sector in spite of the global economic slowdown. In fact over the past decade the hospitality sector in Turkey enjoyed healthy growth in demand and over 250,000 rooms in supply, with a further estimate of 120,000 rooms by 2015, and yet this growth has not impacted strong occupancy and rate performance, which is very encouraging! However there continues to be an increasing shortage of hotel accommodation particularly in the budget and middle market areas. 

  • Which are the countries making the most of the opportunities of tourism and hospitality sector?

Prior to the global crisis, Turkey was earmarked as one to watch alongside Russia. Today, we are returning to this earlier scenario with most companies stating that Russia and Turkey are their two strategic growth markets up to 2014.

  • 2011 Turkey’s economy’s influence on the hospitality industry in 2011. In the scope of economic prospects in 2012, what are the expectations for the hospitality industry in Turkey?

How do you evaluate the influence of tourism industry on the economy in Turkey?

Figures reveal that the tourism sector is currently contributing 11 per cent year on year economic growth, with Istanbul seeing a 30 per cent increase in tourist revenue for 2011. It is quite clear that the tourism sector is becoming increasingly significant for the growth of the region’s economy and Turkey will continue to attract inbound investment and visitors.

We have a dedicated panel at CATHIC, where we look to hear from experts such as Hamdi Akin (Akfen Holding Company), Eric Danziger (Wyndham Group), Denis Hennequin (Accor) and Kurt Ritter (Rezidor Group) is set to discuss the marco-economic view to see what the key economic indicators are telling us as we look toward the future.

  • How does Turkey attract foreign tourists? What are Turkey’s strengths and weaknesses in competing with other outstanding touristic destinations?

Turkey is the new hot-spot for tourism development. The country is vast, varied and interesting – all key contributors to a compelling offer for leisure and destination travellers.

  • How do you evaluate the foreign investments in Turkey’s hospitality sector? Which are the factors encouraging foreign investors?

It is fast becoming a logical place to do business in region due to its strategic location and strong economic outlook.  A growing number of international players see Turkey’s potential, such as Wyndham Hotel Group, Marriott International, Hilton Doubletree Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Radisson Blu and Shangri-La.

  • What do you think about Turkey’s potential in the scope of health, thermal, plateau, winter sports, golf, culture tourism? How is Turkey’s tourism diversity? Could you please evaluate alternative tourism in the world?

Turkey has become one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations thanks to its natural attractions, unique historical and archaeological sites.

Over the last decade Turkey has demonstrated considerable growth in sectors such aviation, health, thermal, winter sports, mountain climbing, ecotourism, conference and expo tourism, cruise ships and yachting, golfing, and coastal tourism. However the industry’s true potential is yet to be realised!

Reports suggest Istanbul is the third-fastest growing tourist destination in terms of visitor numbers, surpassing New York and Amsterdam with most visitors travelling from Saudi Arabia, Iran and UAE closely followed by the United States and Europe.

  • Which are the main necessities of countries such as transportation and infrastructure development so as to encourage the alternative tourism?
  • How should tourism development and environment policies be in line with each other? Could you evaluate globally?

One of the key drivers of sustainable development of any country or destination is the consistent flow of investment and clear strategic drive that answers to the needs of the market and its requirements.

Delegates attending CATHIC will hear from global experts such as David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World travel trade Council (WTTC) regarding an update on the key travel trends in international markets and its impact on the Turkish and Central Asian markets, its challenges and opportunities. This session will further explore how governments can work with the hotel industry as well as how to sustain Turkey as a top travel destination globally.

  • Could you evaluate Turkey’s efforts in becoming a brand in tourism industry?

Turkey looks forward to welcoming 70 million tourist arrivals by 2023 - the 100th Anniversary of the Republic and predictions for 2012 (33 million international tourists) sees Turkey well on its way to achieving this goal. According to Brand Finance, Turkey is the 19th most valuable country brand in the world with regards to economy, politics, national income, unemployment rate, tourism income, country risk perception, health services, total exports and banking system.

We will see Turkish Government continuing to play a huge role in the development of the country’s tourism industry as it looks to realising its Tourism Strategy 2023; however this needs to be through positively positioning Turkey's image in the world through branding.

  • How can Turkey’s private sector effectiveness be improved?

This topic deserves debating! This is the type of spirit and curiosity we see at our Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC), soon to be in its second year this February and that is why CATHIC is really more important than ever this year as it gives the industry a chance to really come together and discuss what is actually going on and happening on the ground and move forward together. 

  • What do you think about the tourism training and human resources system in Turkey?

In my view, one of the key issues to be addressed is to ensure that the regions’ development is sustainable. It is encouraging to see recent reports that show specialised training courses are in place for people within the hospitality sector by the Ministries of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan and Turkey and the Turkish Cooperation & Development Organization (TIKA).

Meantime those wanting to work in the tourism sector can undertake a degree programme in Turkish schools and this in turn will help ensure all tourism is sustainable and eco-friendly.