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ITB Berlin News 2018 - Review Edition

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26 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TOURISM IS A SOFT POWER THAT HELPS TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER AND WE TRULY BELIEVE THAT TRAVEL WILL CONTINUE TO GROW. Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu Minister of Culture and Tourism Republic of Turkey Capitalising on Diversity Exclusive Interview: Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu - Minister of Culture and Tourism - Republic of Turkey With 32.41 million visitors in 2017, Turkey experienced a jump in tourist arrivals of over 28% after two difficult years as highlighted in an exclusive interview with ITB Berlin News, by Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. As 2017 was the year of recovery for Turkish tourism, we asked the minister what his expectations are for 2018. Our tourism faced two difficult years, due to political instability and violent events, but this time is now behind us. I am glad that our industry is growing again. Tourism is a soft power that helps to bring people together and we truly believe that travel will continue to grow. We predict that this year, we could record 38-million international arrivals generating USbn in tourism revenues. How did European markets perform? Do you see potential in new European countries? Europe is a very important partner for Turkey. Europe is our fourth largest export market and our fifth largest import market. With 13.8 million arrivals – excluding CIS countries – Europe last year generated over 40% of all arrivals to our country. I am confident that Europeans will be back in larger numbers as we continue to be a perfect destination for holidaymakers looking for culture, ethnic diversity, beautiful beaches, excellent gastronomy and a good value for money. In recent years, we have witnessed a surge in arrivals from Central/Eastern Europe such as Bulgaria or Poland. I personally believe that Switzerland has excellent potential to grow more. How would you define Turkey’s tourism assets today? Our geographical position makes us a natural gateway as we are just sitting between Asia and Europe and as we are also close to Africa. Then there is our culture with its incredible variety, shaped by elements from Ancient Greece, the Ottoman Empire and Islamic cultures. This variety of cultures is reflected also in our religions, ethnics. We have an unmatched diversity of landscapes, a superb gastronomy and finally we have our people with their true sense of hospitality. Are you looking at Asia as a potential market? Asia still represents a very tiny portion of our total arrivals. But its potential is enormous, with China and India poised to grow doubledigit due to the surge in their middle-class. We also capitalise on Haj pilgrims to Makah from Indonesia and Malaysia. Turkey is an excellent destination to spend a few days before or after their Haj. Do you want to promote new destinations within Turkey? Our new focus is to put in highlight a new destination every year. We started this year with Troja as it is an iconic site with its strong historical background. We are already looking at another destination for 2019 as it helps to promote alternative destinations worldwide TURKEY TOURISM IN NUMBERS The last couple of years have seen Turkish tourism getting through turbulent times. From a peak of 42 million foreign travellers in 2014, tourism declined to 36.24 million arrivals in 2015 to reach a low of 25.35 million arrivals in 2016. But 2017 marked a U-turn with arrivals growing again by 28% at 32.41 million. There is however a major shift in the top markets to the country. Russia is now Turkey’s largest inbound market with 4.71 million arrivals (+444%), taking over Germany, Turkey’s traditional number one inbound market. German arrivals last year reached 3.58 million, a decline of 7.8% over 2016. However, Turkey’s neighbours grew strongly, with Iran now being Turkey’s third largest source market (2.5 million arrivals, up 50%), followed by Georgia (2.44 million arrivals, up 10.5%) and Bulgaria (1.85 million, up 9.5%). The UK remained the sixth largest source market with total arrivals reaching 1.66 million last year, down by 3.1%. In Asia, China was the largest source market with 247,000 travellers, followed by India with 87,000 (up 9.7%) and Indonesia with 85,000 arrivals (up 80%) ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 27 Just Say Yas The Middle-East’s most exciting entertainment and fun “hot-spot” is cooler than ever, with new attractions Yas Island continues to expand its portfolio of world-class attractions to support its current rich offerings that creates immersive experiences for visitors from the region and around the world all in one destination just seven minutes away from Abu Dhabi airport. We asked Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of developer Miral “what’s new”. The island offers a variety of immersive experiences that cater to all age-groups all in one interconnected destination. Yas Island welcomes visitors all year long from UAE, the wider GCC region, and other source markets. These key source markets include India, China, UK, Russia and Germany. The current split of visitors is 70% from UAE and 30% from our source markets. Today, Yas Island is home to two world-class theme parks: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. as well as Yas Beach, Yas Mall, Yas Marina, Yas Links, and Yas Marina Circuit. The Yas Marina Circuit is one of the most technologically-advanced Formula 1 circuits in the world and a home to Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Last year, Yas Island was recognised for excellence in more than 17 international awards by industry peers and visitors. This year Yas Island will add two major attractions to its portfolio – Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and CLYMB. The former will open doors during the summer of 2018 with 29 immersive rides, entertaining shows and interactive attractions. CLYMB will open in the second half of the year, featuring the tallest climbing wall and the widest flight chamber in the world. In addition, Yas Island will be home to some of Abu Dhabi’s biggest events in 2018. There will be 22 events, on a weekly basis until mid-May 2018. These include the world-famous Harlem Globe Trotters, The Illusionists, a Brazilian Carnival and seven freeto-public family festivals. How is Ferrari World developing? What is the feedback like? Ferrari World Abu Dhabi opened its doors in 2010 to be the world’s first Ferrari branded theme park offering unique entertainment experiences through 20 Ferrari inspired rides and attractions. The theme park is home to a winning mix of 37 rides and attractions, enjoyed by adventure seekers of all ages. This includes Formula Rossa - the fastest rollercoaster in the world; at 240 km/h, the incredible Flying Aces, a rollercoaster with the world’s tallest inverted loop at 52m; and Turbo Track - the most heart pounding roller-coaster, reaching 64 metres, the highest point on Yas Island. The park is continuously growing with two more attractions coming this year. What about Yas Waterworld? Yas Waterworld is an awardwinning Emirati-themed waterpark inspired by the rich local heritage of pearl diving through its story of ‘The Legend of the Lost Pearl’. Today, the theme park is home to more than 43 rides, slides and attractions, some of which can be found nowhere else in the world. The rides and experiences are designed to thrill adventure seekers of all ages, and they are often enjoyed by the whole family. The waterpark is home to Liwa Loop – a high-intensity looping waterslide and Bandit Bomber - the world’s first interactive water and laser rollercoaster. What are the overall “USPs” of Yas Island? Yas Island today presents a rich portfolio of unique attractions and theme parks that are interconnected and few minutes away from each other, all in one destination just seven minutes away from Abu Dhabi airport. Yas Island’s range of experiences in adventure sports, shopping, dining, stay and relaxation has something for everyone within a family. Also, Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi CEO, Miral Asset Management the destination’s offerings are suited for families of all budgets. Yas Island continues to expand its portfolio of world-class attractions by bringing new theme parks, attractions and unique projects in 2018 and beyond. It will advance smart connectivity and provide state-of-the-art mobility solutions to seamlessly connected ‘wall-less’ destination. Guests will be able to plan their visit with a simple touch of their smartphone or device. Further, Yas Island’s appeal as a global destination for entertainment and leisure is enhanced by its location. The destination is easily accessible from most of the countries in the world. In addition, Yas Island is only 7 minutes away from Abu Dhabi airport and 45 minutes away from Dubai YAS ISLAND CONTINUES TO EXPAND ITS PORTFOLIO OF WORLD-CLASS ATTRACTIONS BY BRINGING NEW THEME PARKS, ATTRACTIONS AND UNIQUE PROJECTS IN 2018 AND BEYOND ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018

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