Its not easy to refuse the offer of having a Turkish tea and that too when the Ambassador hosts the evening by himself. It was recently when I got an invite from the Ambassador of Turkey to India, H.E. Mr Şakir Özkan Torunlar. It was hosted for the members of the Indian tourism and economy media at the official residence in New Delhi.
The informal meet & greet session was organised to acknowledge media for their ongoing support to Turkey and apprise them on current tourism statistics and trends between both the countries.
The High Tea at ambassador’s residence was an extravagant occasion giving a peek of Turkish culture, enjoyed in exquisite surroundings. The guests were seen interacting with the Ambassador and over snacks, tea and Turkish coffee, they discussed a variety of subjects from Turkish culture, Turkish cuisine, Indian destination weddings in Turkey and, of course many other tourism products Turkey offers.
On the occasion H.E. Mr Şakir Özkan Torunlar,Ambassador of Turkey highlighted that every single Indian who visits Turkey once, becomes the ambassador of Turkey after his return back to India. “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. 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.”
The Turkish Tourism Board in India recently announced that the number of Indian tourists travelling to Turkey has doubled.
“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% increase in the number of overall tourists. That means we will be hosting 40 million international tourists by the end of 2018. When we look at figures from India, we see 95% increase for the same period. If this trend continues we will be hosting almost 2 lakhs Indian tourists by the year end”, said Mr. Deniz ERSÖZ, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, of the Turkish Embassy.
Further emphasising on the Turkish Tourism Mr Ersöz added, “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. 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.”
Turkey is the home of unique nature, culture and deep-rooted historical and religious prestige which reflects in its 18 world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. It also offers diverse cuisine and entertainment options, along with world class hotel and transportation services and the popular tourist sites while drawing attention to the emerging trends of adventure tourism, faith tourism, medical tourism and the country as a trending wedding destination.
Last but not the least, it is worth to mention that the new airport of Istanbul which will be inaugurated at the end of October 2018, will be one of the largest airports in the world with a capacity of 200 million passengers/year.
If you want to enjoy the modern Arab culture with European flavours and the deep cultures of long times than Turkey is the only country in the with such diversity and modernity. One can surely keep the turkey a destination to travel again and again.