The Turkish Ambassador exuded confidence in the scope of bilateral ties between India and Turkey, indicating that more cities in the two countries were soon set to have air connectivity. He was interacting with a select group of media personnel at his official residence.
The government of India was in the process of reviewing the existing bilateral air service agreement to improve connectivity between India and Turkey, H.E Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Ambassador of Turkey said. He shared the information while interacting with a select group of media personnel at his official residence in the capital over the high tea. Set in an informal environment, the event allowed for detailed interaction with the top envoy on various facets of bilateral ties, especially tourism, between the two countries. “It could be with Turkish Airlines or any other carrier, either from Turkey or India,” he said, speaking on bilateral air connect. Refusing to divulge any further detail, owing to the nature of the agreement, being commercial rather than official, he suggested that as per the information he had gathered in the past weeks, “not only Turkish Airlines but other carriers too were going to connect more cities in India and Turkey.” “That will be a good development in the next few months,” he said.
The relationship between Turkey and India had steadily grown year by year in both scope and depth and spanned many different areas of cooperation, the ambassador noted. “Turkey and India enjoy warm relations and also share a close historical relationship with strong cultural links,” he added. He suggested that Indians visiting Turkey were acting as ambassadors for his country, playing a critical role in driving Indian outbound to the Turkish shores. “Turkey enjoys immense geographical, cultural and social diversity, which is why it is extremely popular with Indians,” he explained.
Deniz ERSÖZ, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, of the Turkish Embassy, expressed confidence in an imminent growth from the Indian market. He also shared a brief overview of tourism in Turkey from across the globe. “In 2017, Turkey hosted more than 32 million international tourists while from India the number was 87,000. This year, from January to July, we recorded a 25% increase in the number of overall tourists. That means we will be hosting 40 million international tourists by the end of 2018,” he said. “When we look at figures from India, we see 95% increase for the same period. If this trend continues we will be hosting almost 2 lakhs Indian tourists by the year-end” Deniz Ersoz said, sharing specifics on the Indian market.
He emphasized that Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Troy and Izmir “are extremely popular with Indian travelers”, adding that Bodrum and Marmaris had 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,” he said.
Culinary experiences were an integral aspect of tourism in the Mediterranean country, he suggested, noting that Turkish cuisine was amongst the richest cuisines in the world and had influences of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. “Wellness is another area where Turkish hammams are well famous. There are some particular regions that focus on holistic wellness. And the traditional hammams of Turkey have visitors from all over the world. With world-class hotels, restaurants, pristine beaches, mountains, adventure sports, and nightlife, there is plenty to see and explore in Turkey for everyone,” he emphasized.