People, Travel

Turkey Considering ‘Arab Village’

Turkey Considering ‘Arab Village’Turkey Considering ‘Arab Village’

In a bid to attract more visitors from Arab countries, Turkey is considering establishing an “Arab village,” an idea floated by the head of the Jeddah-based Arab Tourism Organization during a visit to Saudi Arabia on April 24 by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Before proceeding to Riyadh, Cavusoglu also had a meeting with Bandar bin Fahad al-Fahaid, the president of ATO, an affiliate of the Arab League, in Jeddah on April 23.

“During the meeting, various ideas, especially the signing of an agreement between the Arab Tourism Organization and Turkey, the arranging of an ‘Arab-Turkish Tourism Security Conference,’ and the founding of an ‘Arab village’ were addressed,” ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

“The head of the ATO particularly floated the idea of establishing an Arab village in order to further revitalize tourism relations between Arab countries and Turkey,” he added.

Turkey’s tourism sector has suffered a dramatic decline in recent months, amid a string of diplomatic and security issues.

The country’s tourism revenue fell by 16.5% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2015, amid repercussions of the refugee crisis, worsening tensions with Russia, and a series of bomb attacks by both the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

In early April, as he hosted Iranian Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaizi, Cavusoglu sought to increase the number of Iranian tourists by proposing an increase in commercial flights between Iran and Turkey. He also said he would seek to have Iranian airlines fly to more destinations in that country.