Turkey aims to boost tourism revenues to $50B: Erdogan

New 'Bring your neighbor and come' campaign calls on Turks living abroad to spend vacations, hold weddings in Turkey.

Turkey aims to attract 8 million more tourists in the first stage of a campaign to boost the nation’s tourism earnings to $50 billion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, according to Anadolu Agency.

"I believe that we can increase our short-term national income [from tourism] to $50 billion and increase it further to $86 billion by 2023," the nation’s centennial, Erdogan said after meeting with representatives of leading Turkish tourism companies at the presidential palace.

By using the Turkish tourism sector's quality of service, product range, cultural and historical wealth, and human resources, Erdogan said, Turkey aims to become one of the world's top three tourism destinations.

Turkey is currently the world’s number six tourist destination, attracting more than 30 million tourists annually and continuing to show positive growth year-on-year, according to Turkey’s Investment Support and Promotion Agency.

Aiming to reach the top three, Turkey Thursday kicked off a new campaign called "Bring your neighbor and come", encouraging Turkish citizens living abroad to spend their holidays in Turkey as well as bring their foreign neighbors with them on holiday.

According to Erdogan, there are currently 5 million Turkish-origin individuals living abroad, most of them in European countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, and Britain.

Moreover, there are also 3.5 million Turkish-origin individuals who once lived abroad and returned to Turkey but still maintain ties with the countries they once lived in, Erdogan added.

"We consider all our citizens living abroad as our voluntary tourism ambassadors. So I invite our citizens living abroad to spend at least one week of their holidays in Turkey [at tourist destinations] in addition to visiting to their families,” Erdogan said.

"I also ask them to bring their neighbors and friends with them for holidays to Turkey. In that vein, we’re launching the 'Bring your neighbor and come' campaign."

Saying that Turkey is home to a wealth of natural beauty with gorgeous mountains, winding rivers, as well as historical beauties and a rich cuisine, Erdogan said that people who choose to holiday in Turkey can experience Turkish hospitality firsthand and meet the "real" Turkey.


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