Turkey appeared with a strong presence at the Gulf Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM2010), a business travel exhibition for the meeting, conference and incentives industry which was held from 29 – 31 March 2010 at the National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in Abu Dhabi.

For the first time participating in this event and between another 40 countries and over 250 exhibitors from the region and all over the world, Turkey had a lot of opportunities to provide to its visitors.

By virtue of possessing a significant historical and cultural heritage, Turkey has positioned itself as a door of amazing possibilities. Turkey where Europe and Asia meet has become an ideal destination for Congresses and Incentive Travel for many regional and multinational companies with a wide range of accommodation and congress facilities.

It is never a problem to find meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology and everything necessary to meet perfectly the needs of different sorts and sizes of productive gatherings. All meetings can be comfortably and pleasurably arranged in Turkey’s delightful resorts. In these resorts there can be found four- and five-star hotels, holiday villages, boutique hotels and fully-equipped congress centers that all boast the highest standards plus friendly professional service and traditional Turkish hospitality. Wonderful hotels and restaurants, thoughtfully restored, offer the opportunity to try local dishes including the unique richness and authentic tastes of Turkish-Ottoman cuisine plus Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. To all of this should be added a wonderful climate, non-stop entertainment and interesting excursions.

Because of its proximity to Europe and the convenience of flying with Turkish Airlines as well as growing number of regional airlines from the GCC, amongst others, to large cities in the United States, Middle east and asia, Turkey has become the country of choice for meetings, congresses, conferences, exhibitions and fairs.

The most important destinations in terms of Congress Travel are: Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Cappadocia, Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, and Marmaris. Amongst the internationally important events that took place in Turkey in recent years were: the Geo-Thermal Congress, the Universiade, a NATO Summit, Formula One race and the Champions League Final, the ITU Telecommunications Conference, the 17th World Accounts Congress, the UPAV Belgian Travel Agents Union Committee, the European Oncology Union Congress and the European Guides Union Committee Meeting. Situated on the doorstep of the world Turkey offers large organizations a comprehensive professionalism plus dynamic and exciting new opportunities.

Turkey is a major attraction for international inbound tourism. Projections made on the Turkish tourism sector point out the need for huge new investments, particularly in infrastructure and accommodation. According to the Tourism Investors Association (TYD) $10 billion investments for hotels, marinas, golf courses and shopping centers only, disregarding infrastructure work, will be required in the next five years.

Currently tourism in Turkey is largely concentrated in the seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts offering visitors the 3S’s: the sun, the sea and the sand. Also Istanbul stands out as the most popular city for tourists coming to Turkey. Seventy five percent of available facilities are in the coastal tourist centers and in Istanbul.

Turkey is seeking to develop a broader tourism industry to ensure healthy and sustainable development. In line with world tourism trends, it is adopting a new strategy to promote tourism offerings based on the Education-Entertainment-Environment concept instead of the Sun-Sea-Sand triangle. It plans to utilize its untapped tourism potential by diversifying into new areas such as golf, yachting, thermal, winter, M.I.C.E (meetings+incentives+conventions+exhibitions), and faith tourism. This will also help the tourism sector contribute to the economy in additional seasons.

Özgür Töre is the founder and managing editor of award-winning travel news website; Focus on Travel News – ftnNEWS.com and Arab Turkish Travel Gazette – www.arabturkishtravel.com. Mr. Töre is the co-founder of RusTourismNews.com and UkraineTravelNews.com Mr. Töre is a board member of Association of Tourism Writers and Journalists (TUYED) in Turkey and International Tourism Writers Alliance. He holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management from Istanbul Kültür University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Istanbul Bilgi University.