A Week of Tourism Events and Controversy

This week was a week of big tourism events in Turkey, events which brought a new realisation on tourism income growth in Turkey.

The Turkey Tourism Summit in the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre ICEC made the headlines for a rather controversial reason. Hurriyet headline: “Minister blames statistics body for poor calculation” in a story of tourism minister’s Ertuğrul Günay comments about the poor calculation of tourism statistics.

In his opening speech at the event Gunay said that the tourism income and tourist arrivals are not counted good enough; visitor numbers in marinas and real estate sales to foreigners are not listed in Turkey’s tourism statistics. The real tourist arrivals and income should be well above the numbers. Mr. Günay stated that the missing income accounts around 5 billion dollars.

The Hurriyet story goes deeper, clearly they have pressed him on his statement on the podium to bring further statements from the sidelines of the event including: “[The TUIK] are asking questions in a slapdash manner and only make an assumption”.

TUIK Turkey’s Statistics Institute published figures earlier this week showing that tourism revenue had grown 1% in 2011 to $23 billion, but according to Gunlay the official calculation is over $28 billion. “We recalculated Turkey’s tourism income [for 2012], and the real figure is above $28 billion,” he said.

Meanwhile the TUYAP exhibition centre played host to tourism professionals and companies from around the world in what has become the fifth tourism show in the world over its sixteen years. Attracting tourism professionals from nations as far afield as Argentina and as close but diversely different as Slovenia, this years Eastern Mediterranean International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (EMİTT) event has been deemed a success.