Photo Courtesy of Lonna Lisa Williams
For many years now Iranians have composed a sizable portion of the tourism industry of Turkey, this is due in part to the amicable relationship between the two countries as well as strong economic ties. According to Iran Daily, Turkey receives nearly 1 million Iranian tourists each year and in exchange some 300,000 Turks choose Iran as their vacation destination. Coastal cities tend to be the main attractions; however, historical sites such as Pamukkale, Ephesus, and Konya, where the poet Rumi had lived, also receive their fair share of Iranian tourists. Turkish newspaper Konut Times has reported that Iranian tourists overwhelmingly prefer the city of Antalya and that numbers of Iranian tourists visiting the city have been increasing over the last decade (Vatan).
According to an independent news source, The European Business Review, Turkey’s appeal to Iranian tourists mainly comes in the form of loose alcohol regulations and lack of clothing bans, two things that Iranians would have a hard time finding at home (Tilic). However, the Turkish government has decided that these two factors are no longer enough to draw in Iranian tourists and in 2015 has begun to launch a campaign aimed at enticing Iranian tourists into visiting Turkey’s famed beach towns. This shift may be due in part to increasing tensions between Turkey and Russia. Before the 2015 incident in which a Russian pilot was shot down over Turkish airspace, Russian tourists were the second largest group of tourists in Turkey. The void left by Russian tourism could possibly be filled by Iranian tourists in the future; this influx of Iranians into to Turkey coupled with the lifting of sanctions in Iran could lead to stronger ties between the two countries.
Iranian Advertisement from Bastamian Agency for Flights from Iran to Turkey
All in all the prospect of Turkish beaches is still a large draw for Iranian tourists and it seems to continue to be so for the foreseeable future. In addition to this, the Turkish government’s attempts to draw in more Iranian tourists may lead to better relations between Iran and Turkey. The impacts of recent terrorist attacks by various groups against Turkey’s tourism industry will become apparent in the coming summer season; this will determine whether or not the attacks have done the intended psychological damage.
Duran, Aram Ekin; Özdemir, Sinem (10 August 2015). "Turkish tourism hit by security concerns". Deutsche Welle.
"Number of Arriving-Departing Foreigners and Citizens". Tourism Statistics. Ministry of Culture
and Tourism (Turkey). 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
Tilic, L. Dogan (5 April 2010). "Antalya: The Tourism Capital of Turkey". European Business Review. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
Vatan. "İranlı Turistler Antalya'yı Tercih Ediyor!" Konut Times. N.p., 07 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.