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“Türkiye is determined to transform the tourism sector into a more durable structure,” says Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy

Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture & Tourism of Türkiye.

“At the end of 2022, our tourism revenue had reached 46.3 billion dollars, and the number of visitors reached 51.4 million. Compared to 2021 figures, we are talking about a 53% increase in revenue and a 75% increase in the number of visitors.” said at 2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference.

ANTALYA, TURKIYE  – TDN – REPORT: The 2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference opened today in Antalya, Türkiye, with an opening speech from Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Minister of Culture & Tourism of Türkiye. The event, organized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), brings together participants from around the world to share knowledge and experience in sustainable tourism.

In his speech, Ersoy highlighted the importance of sustainability in the tourism industry, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that Türkiye was one of the countries least affected by the pandemic, thanks to its rapid implementation of the “Safe Tourism Certificate Program.”

Ersoy also spoke about Türkiye’s commitment to sustainability in the tourism sector and the government’s efforts to develop a shared understanding of Turkish tourism with the participation of all tourism stakeholders. He announced that Türkiye aims to have all accommodation facilities sustainable tourism certified by 2030.

“Our country was the first to forge an agreement with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in the presence of the government and to prepare the National Sustainable Tourism Program. In this respect, our work is an exemplary step towards sustainability on a global scale, and other countries have followed our lead. I especially want to thank GSTC and its esteemed managers for their valuable contributions throughout this process.” said.

“Within the scope of this Program, which was created to ensure sustainable growth in the tourism sector and to develop a shared understanding of Turkish tourism with the participation of all tourism stakeholders, accommodation facilities are the priority.

When we observe the dynamics of tourism today, we see that both global travellers and tour operators are looking for ‘sustainable tourism items.’ And we all know that the most important way to increase the competitiveness of tourism today is to act by ‘sustainability principles.’ Seeing this demand, we have brought regulatory standards to the sector.

In the Program, the transition will be carried out in three stages. The first phase of the Program, which is planned to be completed in 2030, will take place in 2023. The second phase will take place in 2025, and the final stage in 2030, aiming to ensure all international standards in this process. In the first phase, accommodation facilities will comply with 30% of the set standards and 70% in the second phase. There will be 100% compliance in the third phase, and all facilities will be Sustainable Tourism certified by 2030.

As of April 25, 2023, by meeting the required criteria, 1,382 enterprises received the 1. Level Certificate. The number of enterprises that have received 3. Level Certification is 202, and the total number of certificates reached 1,584. All facilities that have been entitled to receive certificates with 100% compliance within the scope of the Program are announced on the Ministry and TGA websites and Türkiye’s official tourism platform GoTürkiye.”

Furthermore, Ersoy highlighted Türkiye’s other sustainability initiatives, such as its Blue Flag beaches, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Cittaslow cities. He also noted Türkiye’s commitment to sustainable gastronomy, with one of its restaurants receiving the Green Star award from MICHELIN for sustainable gastronomy.

“Our actions towards sustainable tourism are not limited to our accommodation facilities. For example, Türkiye maintained its rank in 2022 as one of the top three countries worldwide regarding Blue Flag beaches – 531 in total. Antalya, where we are now, has more Blue Flag beaches than any other city. Türkiye, among the top three countries that have registered the most elements in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, has entered the list with 25 values to date. It should not be forgotten that these values increase public awareness of ancient cultural heritage and provide international visibility. Türkiye currently has 19 heritage sites, including 17 cultural and two mixed, registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.” said Ersoy.

He added that the steps Turkliye have taken in sustainability also embrace Turkish cuisine. “Today, many chefs give more space to plants and vegetables in their kitchens as appreciation grows towards culinary cultures and restaurants that adopt an environmentally conscious sustainable model. From this perspective, we introduce our cuisine and gastronomic richness to the world, presenting a culinary tradition that has, for centuries, been sustainable, healthy and waste-free. As you know, last year, İstanbul was included in the MICHELIN Guide selection for the first time; among these restaurants, one was granted the Green Star, an award bestowed by MICHELIN to restaurants that are role models in sustainable gastronomy. In addition, we continue to work on this issue to acquire the sustainability label from the internationally recognised Biosphere for the appropriate recipes in the Century-Old Recipes and Turkish Cuisine book published in 2021. In addition, the Rami Library, the İzmir Culture and Arts Factory and the Adana Archaeology Museum we’ve opened recently have achieved the Biosphere Sustainability Certificate for the first time in Türkiye and Maiden’s Tower, due to be opened tomorrow, is in the candidacy stage.”

And he concluded: “As you all know, we attract tourists worldwide to our country thanks to the effective advertising and PR activities conducted through our Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency and our sector’s efforts. At the beginning of 2022, we set a target of 42 million tourists and 35 billion dollars in revenue. We revised this target three times during the year. At the end of the year, our tourism revenue had reached 46.3 billion dollars, and the number of visitors reached 51.4 million. Compared to 2021 figures, we are talking about a 53% increase in revenue and a 75% increase in the number of visitors.

I want to remind you that while the number of visitors fell by 72% worldwide due to the pandemic after 2019, we managed to keep this rate at 69% in Türkiye. We have announced our 2023 tourism targets as 60 million tourists and 56 billion dollars in revenue. As always, I hope we will achieve our targets one by one with the dedicated work and support of our valuable sector representatives.”

Turkish Minister of Culture & Tourism finally emphasized the importance of the 2023 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference as a valuable platform for the exchange of information and ideas among all participants. He expressed his hope that the conference would contribute to sustainability efforts on a global scale and that Türkiye would continue to progress rapidly towards becoming one of the prominent destinations in the world.

The conference, which runs from May 09-12, 2023, features valuable speakers who are experts in their fields and promises to deliver positive results and gains to the world’s tourism sector and Türkiye.

TravelDailyNews International is Media Partner of GSTC 2023.

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