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News 29

Turkey: Looking east in tourism

Long-regarded as an affordable getaway for European tourists seeking the sun in the coastal resorts of Antalya, Bodrum or Marmaris, Turkey is starting to draw rising numbers of visitors from the Middle East region.

The Arab Spring has led to an upswing in tourists from the Middle East choosing perceived safer destinations on the region's periphery, and Turkey is proving to be one of the beneficiaries. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals in the Middle East declined by 8.4% to 54.8m in 2011, but tourist flows from Egypt to Turkey are estimated to have increased by 400% in 2011, according to Agence France-Presse.

The rise in tourists from the Middle East is also the result of concerted efforts on the part of those involved in Turkey's tourism sector. The Western Black Sea Promotional Tour organised by the Turkish-Middle East Tourism Council in late April, for example, invited tourism officials from the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE to visit the provinces of Sinop and Kastamonu in the north of the country.

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