Arab News - With Saudi-Turkish bilateral trade continuing to expand, Turkey is now seeking more Saudi families to spend their vacation at its varied and popular tourist destinations. A delegation from the Turkish tourism industry comprising hotels and travel agents held a workshop with their Saudi counterparts at the Sheraton Villa on Sunday night, hoping to receive 100,000 Saudi tourists to Turkey this year.
“This is the first time that a Turkish tourism delegation is visiting Saudi Arabia,” said Salih Ozer, counselor of culture and information at the Turkish Embassy. Turkey had 40,000 tourists from Saudi Arabia in 2007 and 60,000 in 2008. “We hope to attract more than 100,000 Saudi tourists this year,” he said.
More than 26 million tourists visited Turkey from all over the world last year. Turkey’s tourism revenue was USD 21 billion last year, which was 2.4 percent of the GDP, he said. Ozer said Turkish contracting companies were engaged in USD 1 billion worth of projects in Saudi Arabia this year. “Over the years, they have done USD 6.5 billion worth of business projects across Saudi Arabia.”
According to Ozer, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries is worth USD 5.5 billion. With Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia totaling USD 2.2 billion and its imports from Saudi Arabia worth USD 3.3 billion, the balance remains in favor of Saudi Arabia.
Turkish Consul General Salih Mutlu Sen said, “We have taken part in the Janadriya program in Riyadh in the last two years.” Ertugrul Gunay, the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, participated in the festival and extended an invitation to King Abdullah to visit Turkey. He said a Turkish tourism office is operating at the embassy in Riyadh.