Increase in US visitors and expansion plans help boost Turkey tourism amid tough economic times

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Despite the ongoing global economic downturn, Turkey’s tourism industry is thriving because of the announcement of new tourism infrastructure and expansion plans and the increase of more travelers from the United States.

Turkey has welcomed the opening of the $1.4 billion Mardan Palace, the most expensive hotel in Europe. The country continues to weather the worldwide economic storm by showing signs of a strong tourism industry. Other indicators include Turkish Airlines’ intention to purchase over 100 planes in the coming few years.

Though the increase in visitors from the US visitation was slight, it comes at a time when almost every other major European tourism destination is seeing declines in the numbers of US travelers. Turkey welcomed106,903 in January-April 2009 versus 104,374 in January-April 2009, an increase of 2.4 percent.

“We are very satisfied with the increase in US travelers,” said Hasan Zongur, director for Turkish Culture and Tourism in New York. “Turkey has such an eclectic array of experiences to offer American travelers – culture, cuisine, beaches and, of course, thousands of years of history as one of the cradles of civilization. In light of the economy, we feel that these incremental gains are indicators of big things to come as Turkey continues to emerge as an attractive vacation option for American travelers.”

The Turkish Culture and Tourism in New York also confirmed that numbers are also encouraging as Turkey headed into its main tourism season of June through September.