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JEDDAH: Turkey is aiming to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product by up to 15 percent this year, said its top ministry official.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 116th Executive Council of the UN World Tourism Organization, Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Serdar Çam told Arab News that the country’s tourism sector has survived COVID-19 and hopes to surpass pre-pandemic levels.
“Last year, we received about 30 million tourists and earned $25 billion from tourism. We expect about 50 million tourists and from $40 billion to $45 billion income from foreign tourists this year,” Çam stated.
“We have tried to turn this pandemic into an advantage because we have asked for the sector to increase the quality like asking for special certificate systems and concentrating on more safe tourism, green tourism and so on,” he added.
Çam explained that the human resource aspect was the most affected in the tourism sector and that the country has started training and educational initiatives to recover its human capital.
“We made a special agreement with the education ministry to convert the technical schools into tourism schools by adding special obligatory curriculum into it,” he said
“Many young people are being trained, starting from the high schools to special departments that have been opened in universities. We have about 207 universities, and almost every university has also supported the sector in teaching and promoting this area,” Çam explained.
The ministry also established a private promotion agency in 2019 to support the sector in collaboration with other private companies.
“During the last three years, due to this agency, we have been very successful in gaining an advantage against the pandemic problem,” said the deputy minister.
“Our target is not just for the seasonal time but for 12 months in 81 cities in all parts of Turkey. In addition, we are trying to bring different types of tourism demands from different continents, such as cultural events, music festivals and sports,” Çam added.
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