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Old 24th October 2005, 08:39   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up British Tourists hit the Aegean

İZMİR - Turkish Daily News


Turkish tourism has been a gem of growth of late and is set to be a star for next year as well. According to British Consul in İzmir Willy Buttigieg, the number of British tourists to pay a visit to the Aegean region would double next season.

Noting that British tourists preferred mainly to spend their holidays at resort centers along the Aegean in places like Bodrum, Kuşadası, Didim and Marmaris, Buttigieg said that 967,271 British tourists have spent their holiday at some sort of Aegean destination already this year.

Buttigieg said according to information the consulate had obtained from British travel agencies providing tours to Turkey, the numbers for next year have already doubled. Explaining why British tourists prefer Turkey for a holiday, Buttigieg said: "The hospitality and friendliness of Turkish people are important reason. Turkey is an inexpensive destination for British people as well."

General Manager of the Thomas Cook, the oldest travel company in the world, and established in 1841, Mal Ricketts said that there would be a 40 percent increase in the number of British tourists traveling to Turkey through his company.

"This year we carried 367,000 tourists to Turkey, of that number, 268,000 were destined for places in the Aegean region, (İzmir/Bodrum/Dalaman). Next year we plan to carry 450,000 tourists from the U.K.," he said.

Ricketts said: "I believe the Aegean region and Turkey, in general, will always be a popular destination for tourists for all the reasons I have previously mentioned. I feel tourism in Turkey has come along way in a relatively short period of time. In just 16 years Turkey has come from nowhere, in terms of mass tourism, to being a major destination in the European tourism market. It is inevitable that within that time mistakes have been made, the important thing is to learn from those mistakes.

To maintain its current position Turkey should ensure that health and safety standards within its tourism sector continue to be a major focus with the aim of achieving the highest possible standards and so ensuring the protection and longevity of tourism, which, in 2004, provided Turkey with $16 million in revenue.

"Pointing out that Thomas Cook was the only British Company flying into İzmir next year, Ricketts said that other companies flied tourists into Bodrum and then transferred them over two hours to Kusadasi.

"We also fly into Bodrum but only feed the Bodrum area and Didim from there. We would certainly like to expand our program in the İzmir area. In recent years, the majority of the new tourism developments have been in the Antalya region as a result tourists have been attracted there by its new hotels and excellent facilities. With a lack of “newly built” hotels and investments in the İzmir area, that area has enjoyed a rather limited numbers of tourists."

Ricketts, stressing that the potential for development in and around İzmir was huge, said: "New modern hotels, golf courses, or simply improving the facilities at historic sites to give tourists a unique experience. Sites such as Ephesus, Pergamum and Aphrodisias are magnificent but with investment and controlled development these attractions could “come alive” and become an interactive experience of knowledge and culture second to none in the world."
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