Türkİye, Economy

Med. tourism needs diversification: MEDITOUR 2016

Tourism leaders discuss future of tourism in Mersin, Turkey at 7th Mediterranean tourism forum

Bahattin Gonultas   | 30.09.2016
Med. tourism needs diversification: MEDITOUR 2016

Ankara

MERSIN, Turkey

The countries of the Mediterranean must bet on diversification to compete globally, the World Tourism Organization’s top official for management of destinations said

Friday.

Speaking at the 7th Mediterranean Tourism Forum (MEDITOUR 2016) in the Mediterranean coastal city of Mersin, Esencan Terzibasoglu touted the power of the cruise/maritime sector, saying that it has generated over 3 million jobs.

The three-day MEDITOUR 2016 was organized by the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Mersin Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MTSO) and more than 400 participants, including businesspeople and representatives of sectoral and government associations and international organizations

Tourism is the most important source of new jobs, especially for the unemployed young people of the region, said Serafettin Asut of the Chamber of Commerce of Mersin.

ASCAME said in a statement that all the participants at the forum embraced the idea that the tourism industry is crucial for tackling the region’s socioeconomic challenges, while generating jobs and being an industry multiplier.

"Some imminent challenges for the industry have been indicated, as the importance of developing sustainable tourism with the private sector, or the need to improve the quality of infrastructure, and to adapt tourist regional offers to different tourist profiles,” according to the statement.

The number of international tourist arrivals worldwide rose 4.4 percent in 2015 to reach a total of 1.18 million. The Mediterranean attracted more than 30 percent of this total, according to long-term forecasts of the World Tourism Organization.

Turkey number 6 worldwide

According to ASCAME, tourist arrivals in the region will reach 500 million by 2030.

“This regional upward trend in the sector is contributing notably to economic growth and development in the Mediterranean. It is therefore necessary to further endorse this industry, in an innovative, sustainable, and cooperative manner," an ASCAME statement said.

Mediterranean tourism is projected to rise 2-5 percent this year, according to the group.

"These figures demonstrate the region’s strong ability to adapt to changes in the global competitive market. In Turkey, the importance of tourism is evident, making the country the sixth-most-visited in the world," it said.

A wide range of opportunities for the sector was touted by attendees, from the high number of Chinese tourists visiting the region every year, to the increasingly important role that third age tourism will play, to the need to create a Mediterranean travel agency.

"It is necessary to emphasize that betting on sustainable development should allow us to continue the path of regional growth, besides a tourist joint offering for all the countries of the Mediterranean, which takes so much from its cultural diversity and historical legacy," said closing remarks at the forum.

The creation of a tourist brand for the whole region would allow Mediterranean countries to collaborate and compete together.

"Tourism is the best instrument of promotion that the Mediterranean region has and, for this reason, countries of the region must cooperate and compete together so as to generate income, create jobs for the youngest, and contribute to peace and stability on both shores of the Mediterranean," said Jerónimo Pérez Casero, head of the ASCAME Tourism Commission.


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