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Tourism industry in Turkey continue to grow despite crisis

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Turkey’s tourism industry has been growing and will continue to do so despite negative effects of the global financial crisis, local newspaper Today’s Zaman reported on Monday.

Turkey has seen a significant growth of tourists in 2008, attracting 14 percent more visitors than in the last year, Kerim Cavusoglu, president of the Turkish Association of Travel Agents ( TURSAB), was quoted as saying, adding that the tourism sector in Turkey was in good shape.

He said Turkey “had the potential to turn the adverse effects of the crisis to its own benefit,” saying the country is advantageous in many areas compared to its rivals, most importantly that foreign tourists can find services with cheaper prices here.

Cavusoglu is confident that this year’s winter period will also bring more opportunities to the Turkish tourism industry than the previous years, and the next year is also “hopeful,” he added.

He expected the negative atmosphere in the global markets to disperse soon, adding that tourism activities would be triggered as consumers’ buying power increases.

The report quoted Antalya Culture and Tourism General Manager Ibrahim Acar as saying that Turkey has become a key player in the global tourism market, citing the growth of tourists number in Greece and Spain, two main tourism rivals of Turkey, of only 2 percent compared with the 14 percent of Turkey.

“For the resort city of Antalya, the number was 18 percent,” Acar said, adding that the Mediterranean coastal city, with its high-quality tourism facilities, has become a center of attraction for foreign tourists.

The report said Antalya received 8.85 million tourists in the January to November period this year, with the largest slice coming from Germany, reaching 2.25 million.

Russia and Ukraine followed Germany with 2.18 million and 452, 000 tourists to Antalya in the same period respectively, it added.

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