The Turkish Province of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast is in extensive preparation for welcoming Chinese tourists since 2018 declared as a Turkey tourism year in China.
"A feverish work has been going on across the province to address all the culprits before hosting our Chinese guests in a best possible way," Governor Munir Karaloglu told Xinhua on May 16.
In his view, Antalya's diversity in terms of its tourism resources as well as its infrastructure is better than many other countries. "Yet we are working hard to increase this diversity even further," he said.
With a rich historical and cultural heritage and 640 km sunny coastline, Antalya is considered the capital province in Turkey's tourism, where skiing, bird observation, sea tourism and trekking on cultural routes are the favorites of tourists.
"We also started to take all the necessary precautions to ensure that there wouldn't be any problems in our infrastructure during the stay of our Chinese guests," the governor remarked.
Earlier this month, a delegation led by Karaloglu made a visit to Hefei, capital of China's Anhui province, and inked a sister city protocol in a move to improve relations between the two cities and to attract Chinese tourists to Antalya.
The governor believed that the number of Chinese people traveling to Turkey and Antalya will skyrocket in 2018.
Turkey's tourism sector has suffered a lot over the past one and a half years as the country has been hit by a spate of terror attacks, a failed coup attempt in July last year and a row with Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter jet in November 2015.
Despite a normalizing relationship with Moscow, the arrival of Russians and other Europeans is still lower than expected.
Turkey saw a 30 percent drop in foreign visitors and revenue last year, the lowest in nine years.
In face of all the difficulties, Turkey's tourism industry has recently shifted its focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, as over 600 million Chinese, among others, are expected to travel abroad in the next five years, according to data from China National Tourism Administration.
The latest official figure shows that the arrival of Chinese in Turkey slipped to 168,000 in 2016, a decease of over 46 percent over the previous year.
During the first four months of this year, 21,181 Chinese tourists came to Turkey, up 11 percent over the same period last year, according to data revealed at turkiyeturizm.com.
"Hereby I am appealing to our Chinese friends to visit Turkey and Antalya," said Karaloglu. "Take your neighbor and come."
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2017)