Turkish Tourism Growth Boosted by Transport Investments

Speaking at the Turkey and Neighbors Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC), a player in the tourism sector has said that the sector is being boosted to 300% annual growth and beyond thanks to giant transportation and urban renewal plans.

The huge cost and huge effort spent on transportation and infrastructure projects that are occupying Turkey’s agenda were also under the spotlight of tourism and real estate sector players during the two-day conference held in Istanbul.

“As the tourism sector’s development has become the locomotive of the economy, it has also paved the way for an improvement in real estate investments. Within the framework of giant projects, around a $400 billion investment is now expected in the real estate sector,” the deputy chairman of Turkey’s Association of Real Estate Investment Companies, Özlem Gökçe, said May 29, the first day of the event.

Gocke went on to say that tourism sector investments are no longer simply efforts in prestige and showing off, but are now attracting serious investors with serious investments.

“The tourism sector is growing 300 percent every year, so we expect to see 60 million tourists in 2013,” she said.

The targets voiced by Başaran Ulusoy, chairman of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), were no less ambitious than Gökçe’s.

“We want to contribute $40 billion to our economy by having 35 million Turks travel within Turkey and abroad,” he said, noting the current momentum was already heading in this direction with the rise in cultural tourism in Turkey that is partly explained by the 26 percent rise in museum entrances.

And it is not all bum and bluster either. The conference played host to a deal that will become a big part of such ambitious growth, as the world’s largest hotel chain, Wyndham signed a contract yesterday with Turkey’s İlbak Holding to officially mark the Super 8 hotel chain’s entry into Turkey. Super 8 hotels will be operated by the Turkish partner of the group, which aims to benefit from a mid-market hotel gap in the country.

“The target is to open 20 hotels in 10 years, starting with opening three or four hotels in istanbul_province”>Istanbul,” İlbak Holding Chairman Mustafa İlbak said. He did not specify the value of the investment but noted that the cost of one room was around $35,000 and that the planned hotels would have between 80 and 200 rooms each.