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Turkey attracts Chinese visitors during Lunar New Year holiday

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-01 12:40
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ISTANBUL -- Turkey's popular tourism destinations are flooded with Chinese visitors, who are enjoying their seven-day Chinese Lunar New Year holiday there.

Ali Can Aksu, head of the Turkish Hotel Managers Association, noted that the occupancy of the hotels in destinations popular among Chinese tourists has seen an over 28 percent year-on-year increase.

The week-long Chinese holiday starts on Jan. 24.

Cappadocia in the central Anatolian province of Nevsehir was once again the most preferred destination during the Spring Festival holiday, followed by the country's biggest city Istanbul, Aksu said.

"Surprisingly, Turkey's southeastern part, including the provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, which were previously not on their agenda, attracted many Chinese people this year," Aksu told Xinhua.

He said the gastronomy tourism in Gaziantep gained momentum after the city has been added to the list in the gastronomy category of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network in 2015.

The archeological site of Gobeklitepe in Sanliurfa has become the driving force of tourism in the region, and is now receiving more Chinese tourists who are keen on culture, Aksu said.

"Chinese tourists in Turkey are mainly aged between 38 and 50 years," he said, noting that tourism sectors should take steps accordingly to attract more Chinese visitors during the next Spring Festival.

In his view, airlines of both countries should increase the number of direct flights to these destinations.

Serdar Ibis, a co-founder of Dorak Tour, an inbound travel company based in Istanbul, said Turkey needs to invest more in promotion in China, including attending fairs and organizing activities to introduce the Turkish culture.

"Turkey should host Chinese celebrities, and bloggers who can contribute a lot to our advertisement there," Ibis told Xinhua.

"Chinese people, especially young generations, are dependent on social media. A good sharing of Turkey would have a tremendous impact on tourism," he added.

Ibis expects Turkey to host around 700,000 Chinese tourists by the end of this year, while Aksu projects the number at up to 1 million.

During the first 11 months of last year, Turkey received 403,739 Chinese tourists, up from 369,952 during the same period of 2018, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

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