To promote its rich heritage and diversity in the landscape of the growing Indian market, Turkey tourism has taken initiatives such as opening of visa application centres, India specific website, e-visa facility and ‘million reason’ ad campaign.
“Turkey has the most varied and diverse sights you could see in a single country (except maybe India). You have the Byzantine monuments of Istanbul like Ayasofya, the Ottoman mosques and palaces, Greek and Roman cities in Western Turkey, then you have Cappadocia, which has amazing rock formations on limestone and some really awe-inspiring cave towns and castles,straight out of Flintstones. Towards east, you get to see atmospheric old Islamic towns and cities and some pre historic stuff too. And the landscape is always spectacular with huge grasslands, snowy peaks and meadows. The food too is nothing short of fabulous, even to Indian taste buds that are used to spicy and fried food. And I haven’t even covered the Mediterranean coastline of Turkey, 13 civilisations have existed in Turkey, and all of them have a significant impact on the culture, and you can see it all!! So that’s why Turkey,” blogs a solo traveller from India whose first trip overseas was Turkey.
Turkey ranked as the sixth most visited country in the world, received nearly 130,000 Indian travellers in 2015 registering a growth of 10 pc from the year before, when the arrival of Indian travellers was around 120,000. Realising the potential of the growing outbound tourism in India, thanks to the increasing disposable income and the trend of holidaying at least once a year, Turkey tourism identified India as its priority market in 2013 and introduced initiatives to boost it further.
Website and visa
For an easy accessibility of information and to reach out to the discerning travellers from India, Turkey tourism launched a website exclusively for the Indian market in 2013. Being specific to the Indian market, the website also has the option of accessing information in Hindi with an aim to reach out to tier II and III cities and almost every nook and corner of India. Reaching out to travellers spread across the Indian subcontinent has been one of the major challenges faced by the international tourism boards.
In addition to the website, Turkey tourism also began the e-visa system for the citizens of 94 countries including India in 2013 through www.evisa.gov.tr. Another major development in the visa segment is the opening of visa application centres across 16 cities in India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, Puducherry, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai and Hyderabad. The centres that will be run by VFS Global, commenced their operations from April 1 of this year and will save Indian travellers the hassle of going to the embassy or a consulate.
Million reasons campaign
To welcome Indian tourists even further, Turkey also launched its ad campaign ‘million reasons’ featuring a mixture of Turkey’s contemporary and sophisticated offerings. Speaking about the campaign, OzgurAyturk, culture and tourism counselor at the Turkish embassy in India told an Indian online daily, “The campaign includes a 30 second TV advert supported by online, print and outdoor elements. The campaign has been designed to enhance Turkey in all its glory. It is visually appealing and showcases the rich cultural and travel experience that Turkey has to offer.”
With such initiatives the Indian arrivals in the country is expected to exceed 150,000 this year. Additionally the Turkish Airlines is seeking for direct services between Turkey and six other Indian cities apart from Delhi and Mumbai.
Little wonder that the country was amongst the top performing tourism markets in the world in 2015, and it looks forward to a similar progress in 2016.