Tourists in Turkey Spent $6.5b on Food in 2014

Tourists in Turkey Spent $6.5b on Food in 2014Tourists in Turkey Spent $6.5b on Food in 2014

Visitors to Turkey last year spent almost 20 percent of their budget on food, according to a recent gastronomy tourism report by the Turkish Association of Travel Agents (TURSAB), Today’s Zaman reported.

The 41.4 million foreign tourists who visited Turkey in 2014 spent $6.5 billion on food, some 19 percent of their combined expenditure which was $34.3 billion.  The TURSAB report states that 88 percent of all tourists traveling worldwide see cuisine as a considerable factor when determining destinations for travel. Addressing this potential, the report presents the current appetite for food in Turkey and advises how the Turkish tourism industry might effectively attract more gourmet tourists.

It points to recent data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), stating that food expenditure constitutes almost 30 percent of the global tourism income. According to TURSAB, each tourist visiting Turkey spent an average of $157.5 on food and beverage compared to the $250 target. To reach this goal, the report offers the following advice:

Turkey should have a gastronomy map pinpointing where region-specific foods can be bought. Foreign gastronomy trips should be scheduled for municipality officers to learn best practice at trade fairs around the world, especially in the Far East, where gourmet tourists have relatively more interest in Turkish cuisine, the report said. Also, occasional food fairs could be organized, while colleges and universities could be encouraged to open culinary departments offering courses.

Turks traveling abroad spend some $194 each on food per year. According to the report, 7.98 million Turkish citizens went abroad in 2014, spending around $5.47 billion, of which $1.55 billion – 28.3 percent – was spent on food. The report adds that all-inclusive holiday packages are not as widespread in other countries as they are in Turkey.

The report quotes Basaran Ulusoy, the president of TURSAB, who said: “Turkey noticed the potential for gastronomy tourism in Turkey very late, but it has come a long way in a short period of time. This is especially due to the diligence of the various provincial chambers of commerce. Each region of the country has started competing with each other to help tourists discover their domestic tastes.”

The report states that 124 different food products have been registered with geographical indications to the database of the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) so far, with a further 185 products awaiting approval.