Turkey ups its targets for tourism

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey targets tourism revenues of $20 billion in 2008, up from over $18 billion last year, and aims to attract more than 25 million tourists this year, Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay told Reuters yesterday. In an interview, he said 25 million tourists would be a critical psychological level after the country drew in 23 million last year. In the first five months of the year, tourist numbers were up 12 percent from a year earlier while tourism revenues jumped 28.4 percent to $2.78 billion in the first quarter. «The 25 million tourists number is a critical level and I think we will exceed this in 2008,» Gunay said. «We must reach the revenue target of $20 billion,» he added. Gunay also announced a strategic plan for tourism, saying Turkey aimed to boost its tourism revenues to $50 billion by 2023 and double the number of tourists visiting the country to 50 million. «This means spending of $1,000 per tourist. The current level is $700. This means doubling the tourism target within 15 years,» he said.