China will soon become one of Ankara's "most important" tourism partners, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Tuesday.
"China will become one of the most important tourism partners of Turkey in the very near future," Kurtulmus told reporters at the 14th China International Tourism and Travel Fair in the capital Beijing.
Kurtulmus said it was Turkey's tourism strategy to engage in promotional activities with such countries as China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.
"We hope that close relations between Turkey and China will reflect also in the area of tourism," he said.
Kurtulmus said Ankara would continue to aim to increase the number of Chinese tourists coming to Turkey in 2018.
"Around 250,000 tourists came to Turkey last year. There is no reason not to increase this number to 500,000."
Kurtulmus previously said Turkey hoped to attract at least 38 million tourists in 2018.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry website, Ankara considers tourism as a sector with the "potential" to further enhance cultural and economic ties with Beijing.
"Chinese tourists, visiting Turkey in a steadily rising number since 2002, are strengthening ties between Turkish and Chinese people," it said.
After the fair, Kurtulmus met his Chinese counterpart Luo Shugang within the scope of Turkish Tourism Year in China.
Kurtulmus said Turkey wants to open Yunus Emre Institute in China and called for a completion of judicial processes as soon as possible.
He later visited Niujie Mosque, which is among the oldest in the country
Reporting by Tevfik Durul:Writing by Diyar Guldogan