0906 GMT March 22, 2018
The three-day event began on February 16 following a summit in Moscow last month which brought together 20 ministers of tourism at the Tourism20 meeting.
The leaders and decision makers of the industry will share their opinions on the development of world tourism in the roundtable meeting of Tourism20.
Tourism ministers from 85 countries including Albania, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Mexico, the UK, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ghana, Nigeria and Tunisia are attending the meeting.
The gathering is organized under the concept 'Boundaries as barriers: Smooth and secure travel'.
World Tourism Forum Chairman Bulut Bağcı said in his opening speech that they organized the third summit. "There is no other meeting in the world where so many top executives and tourism representatives attend. The work we do is of great importance for the tourism world, Turkey and the countries that send tourists to our country."
Underlining that they will hold subsequent meetings in the United States, China and Qatar, Bağcı said they will bring together industry professionals in more than 40 sessions.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı began his speech by recalling the 'Bring Your Neighbors' campaign initiated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the 'I adore this country' campaign initiated by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. "I think that these complementary campaigns really have meaning beyond tourism and that they are very meaningful in terms of showing what 'love of country' is, especially these days. I thank them very much," Avcı said.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said the tourism industry's contribution to Turkey's GDP is around 12 percent, including the sector's direct and indirect effects. Stressing that infrastructure investments in tourism have an effect on income, Şimsek said: "If you can attract tourists, you need better infrastructure. In other words, tourism has an important effect on local economies as well."
Emphasized the fact that tourism is a driving power for global growth, Şimşek also commented on the decline in the number of tourists Turkey hosted last year and said: "2016 was a year that witnessed terrorist attacks as well as a coup attempt. Nevertheless, we welcomed 25 million tourists. We believe that the decline in the number of tourists is temporary. We will get back on track."