On 23rd January 2015, in parallel with the EMITT Travel Fair, the Promotions Office of the Turkish Tourism Ministry presented the annual review of their Tourism Marketing Policy. Irfan Önal, the head of the Promotions Department, explained that the current strategy was developed after an 18 month policy review process that combined the lessons learned over their fifteen years of operation with stakeholder/expert consultations (involving universities, travel professionals, tour agencies, the voluntary sector, etc).

The policy’s overall aim is to present a coherent and consistent image across all media, platforms and countries. The slogan ‘Turkey – home of …‘ had been adopted as being flexible and appealing to audiences. It allows Turkey to become the home of coffee, whirling dervishes, hammams, or whatever takes your fancy.

The campaign had been implemented with the extensive involvement of social media organisations, including the powerful TripAdvisor. As a result, Istanbul was voted most popular destination for the year 2014, and Turkey has moved into 5th position in the most-followed destinations. All this should contribute to the Ministry’s efforts to move Turkey’s tourism arrivals to 40 million per year by 2023.

Unfortunately, the campaign makes no concessions to sustainable tourism. The promotional film, fast moving and flashy as it is, shows no outdoor activities such as trekking or biking, nor does it promote rural, sustainable tourism.

The Culture Routes Society will be seeking a meeting with the Ministry to ask them to make an effort to support the sustainable rural tourism industry that the Society promotes. We will demonstrate to them that efforts in this area will reach a very desirable tourist demographic that has yet to be targeted by the Ministry’s strategy.

We will be seeking statistics and further information about our members, supporters and the walkers on our trails. If you would like to encourage the Tourism Ministry to fully support us, please click here.

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