Turkey is fast becoming the most sought-after holiday destination for Serbs, according to Turkey’s ambassador in Belgrade, who said arrivals from the Balkan nation had jumped 85% from previous years.
“We expect the number of tourists from Serbia to Turkey to exceed the thresholds of 300,000 (annual). In the medium term, we will reach 500,000 and in the long term, this number will reach 1 million,” Hami Aksoy said. at a major industry event in Belgrade on Thursday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) at the 43rd Belgrade International Tourism Fair, Aksoy said that amid the wave of tourism, airline Turkish Airlines (THY) could help boost travel further by launching direct flights between the Serbian capital and the seaside resort of Antalya in southern Turkey. “Turkish Airlines has a close relationship with the Serbian national carrier, AirSerbia. Together we aim to increase bilateral flights.”
More than 40 local and other travel agencies based in different countries participated in the tourism fair, which was held on Thursday under the title “Between Mountain and Sea”.
Turkey is one of the main participants in the Belgrade Tourism Fair, which ranks as the biggest tourism event in South Eastern Europe with more than 50 companies and more than 120 people, including a trade delegation from the capital Ankara.
Boosting tourism and airlines
Taking place simultaneously with the Belgrade Tourism Fair, the HORECA Catering Industry Fair also gathered a wide representation from Turkey.
Muhammet Sarıtaş, Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce Committee, said flights between the capitals of the two countries would benefit both airlines and the tourism industry.
Stressing that the “main objective” for Turkey would be to attract more tourists to regions close to Ankara, such as the neighboring cities of Konya and Eskisehir as well as the picturesque region of Cappadocia, Sarıtaş said that this would lead to a further increase in demand for flights.
Also present at the event was Mehmet Oktay, mayor of the famous Turkish seaside town of Marmaris, who said he took part in promising meetings in Serbia.
“The Balkan market is important for our industry. We had a tough time for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that is coming to an end,” Oktay said.
“There are opportunities in Marmaris to meet all kinds of tourist needs from Serbia. We welcome tourists from the region to Marmaris,” he added, calling his city “the pearl of the world”.
According to Mert Demiral, tourist and cultural counselor of the Turkish Embassy in Belgrade, the number of Serbian tourists visiting Turkey from January to October last year had obtained an increase of 78.46%.
The three-day fair welcomes participants from Turkey as well as Greece, Montenegro, Egypt, Bulgaria, Russia, North Macedonia, Tunisia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and, for the first time , from Malaysia.