Tourism can build better understanding between cultures says President of Turkey accepting the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism

PR No.: PR13023

The President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, underscored the contribution tourism can make to peace and mutual understanding when presented the UNWTO / World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Open Letter on Travel and Tourism. By accepting the Open Letter, President Gül adds his voice to those world leaders which rally support for tourism as a key for growth and fairer development (Ankara, Turkey 28 March 2013).

Meeting UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, in Ankara, President Gül emphasised tourism’s contribution to “global peace, interaction between cultures and to the efforts to overcome biases”.

Other topics addressed during the meeting included the importance of visa facilitation in stimulating tourism growth and the most recent trends in the tourism sector in the world and in Europe with President Gül stressing that “borders must be open to travel”.

“Turkey has placed tourism firmly as a priority in the development of the country and the wellbeing of its people”, said Mr. Rifai. “The number of tourists visiting Turkey soared from less than 10 million in 2000 to nearly 35 million in 2012. This impressive growth is the result of a strong commitment to the sector and an adequate national tourism policy which includes issues such as visa facilitation for key emerging markets such as Russia”

In 2012, 34.9 million international tourists visited Turkey, generating more than US$ 25.7 billion in exports and making it the 6th most visited country in the world. Tourism is one of the leading economic activities of Turkey, accounting for 16% of all exports.


Note to Editors:

UNWTO and WTTC are jointly presenting heads of state and government around the world an Open Letter which calls on them to acknowledge tourism’s key role in delivering more sustained and balanced growth and to prioritize the sector higher in national policies in order to maximize its potential. The Open Letter outlines Travel & Tourism’s value as one of the world’s largest generators of jobs, a powerful driver of socio-economic growth and development and a key player in the transformation to the Green Economy.

To date, 48 heads of state and government have received the Open Letter from UNWTO and WTTC.


Useful links:

Open Letter to Heads of State and Government




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