Turkey’s tourism industry continues to defy the global economic downturn, climbing one place in the 2009 UN World Tourism Organisation’s (WTO) ranking of top ten most visited countries by tourist arrivals, making it now the 7th most visited country in the world.

Turkey also has been growing ever-more popular with British visitors. TW Insight’s May newsletter named Turkey as one of the top five destinations for growth in the UK market with the all-inclusive holiday sector being particularly strong. And, according to market research agency GfK Turkey has become the second most popular destination for the British. Meanwhile, in September Turkey was voted the favourite destination in the Condé Nast Traveller UK Readers’ Travel Awards. Its popularity also ensured a spot in the prestigious World’s Top 100 list where it was voted number 2, while Istanbul was voted 5th in the Overseas Cities Category.

PricewaterhouseCoopers anticipates that Turkey’s tourism sector will expand by 12.1% between 2010 and 2013. New investments in the tourism sector, a more sophisticated brand of tourism, wider choice of alternatives and the good value offered by Turkey for foreign visitors have all contributed to this success.

Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural and financial capital, is proud to have been a 2010 European Capital of Culture. The city geared up for this momentous event with extensive restoration work to important sites, including the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, and hosted a plethora of arts and cultural events across the visual arts, music and opera, performing arts, literature, cinema, museums and traditional arts.

Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, says: “Turkish tourism has been a spectacular success this year and the future remains bright, with visitor numbers continuing to grow. Looking ahead, we’re confident that our tourism industry is poised for even greater growth. We have also had a wonderful year hosting Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture which gave us the opportunity to showcase the city as an international capital of culture and art, whilst our nationwide tourism offering continues to diversify with areas such as culture & archaeology and interest & activity holidays proving ever more popular with each passing year.”

The Turkish Office of Culture and Tourism will be hosting special events at WTM to celebrate the successes of 2010 and preview Turkey’s tourism strategy for 2011 and beyond, including a special press conference with Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Turkish Minister of Culture & Tourism, as well as special roundtable sessions with senior representatives from the Mugla and Antalya regions.

Turkey Press Conference by Mr. Ertugrul Gunay, Turkish Minister of Culture & Tourism: “New Trends and Future Strategy – Archaeology & Culture to Health Tourism” Monday 8th November 2010 @ 13.00. Platinum Suite 6 at the Press Centre, Excel Centre, WTM London