Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Exterior view of the famous Sultan Ahmet or Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. Image credit - Travel + Leisure

Turkey could soon be a hot destination for tourism lovers not only from the Northeast but other Indian States too.

“In 2017, Turkey hosted more than 32 million international tourists while from India the number was 87,000. This year, from January to July, we recorded 25 per cent increase in the number of overall tourists. That means, we will be hosting 40 million international tourists by the end of 2018,” said Deniz ERSÖZ, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, of the Turkish Embassy on Wednesday.

“When we look at figures from India, we see 95 per cent increase for the same period. If this trend continues, we will be hosting almost 2 lakhs of Indian tourists by the year-end,” added ERSÖZ.

He said that Turkey and India enjoy warm relations and also share a close historical relationship with strong cultural links.

“The relationship between Turkey and India has steadily grown year by year in both scope and depth and spans many different areas of cooperation. Turkey enjoys immense geographical, cultural & social diversity, which is why it is extremely popular with Indians,” said ?akir Özkan Torunlar, Ambassador of Turkey.

“We are working towards tourism related verticals like increasing air connectivity and changes in visa policy so as to ensure better engagement between both countries,” added the Ambassador.

According to the Ambassador, every single Indian, who visits Turkey once, becomes the ambassador of Turkey after his return back to India.

The Turkish Tourism Board in India recently announced that the number of Indian tourists travelling to Turkey has doubled.

Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, Troy and Izmir are extremely popular with Indian travellers.

However, Bodrum and Marmaris have also emerged as major tourist attractions in recent past. In addition to that, Konya where Celaleddin Rumi spent his last 45 years, the sacred site where he was buried is also among the popular destinations for Indians.

“When we talk about food, Turkish cuisine is amongst the richest cuisines in the world with influences of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Wellness is another area where Turkish hammams are well famous. There are some particular regions that focus on holistic wellness,” said Deniz ERSÖZ

“And the traditional hammams of Turkey have visitors from all over the world. With world-class hotels, restaurants, pristine beaches, mountains, adventure sports, nightlife etc, there is plenty to see and explore in Turkey for everyone,” ERSÖZ further said.

Rajiv Roy

Rajiv Roy is Northeast Now Correspondent in New Delhi. He can be reached at: royrajiv2011@rediffmail.com

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