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Turkish delight

LEAH GEORGE
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Visit Turkey for a vacation full of culture and history

IstanbulA blend of tradition and modernity
IstanbulA blend of tradition and modernity

Turkey is one of the untapped luxury holiday destinations of the world”, says Ozgur Ayturk, Culture and Tourism counsellor of Turkey, at the Bangalore stretch of the five-city road show being conducted by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism in association with the Turkish Hoteliers Federation, held at the Taj West End recently. The road show which covers Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi focused on Turkey’s wedding, golf and honeymoon destinations.

Taking the audience through a short presentation on what Turkey has to offer, Koray Yakut, a professional tourist guide described Turkey as a country loaded with culture, history and nature. “And it takes the length of only three movies to fly from India to Turkey, so it’s not too far,” he quips.

Turkey, whose history dates back to 5000 B.C is known for trades like carpet weaving, calligraphy, paper making, stone carving, ceramics, tile making, wood carving, jewellery and embroidery. The presentation focused on showcasing the art, culture and opulence of Turkey.

The country boasts of shopping festivals in April that last all night long, a wide variety of food, and a hopping nightlife in Istanbul. “You can eat something different every day in Turkey, and you can still go a whole year without eating the same thing twice,” claims Koray.

The country had 100,000 Indian visitors last year, with about 12 to 15 weddings hosted there a year. Koray also put forward the idea of Turkey as a preferred golfing destination with upscale clients like Tiger Woods visiting. Bollywood has also taken notice of the country with movies such as Mission Istanbul and Ek Tha Tiger being shot there. “Our cultures are very similar so one can feel at ease in Turkey,” says Koray.

Discussing how expensive a holiday to Turkey would be for the average middle class Indian, Ozgur says, “Well it’s not cheap, but we have packages and offerings for every budget. We have everything from two and three to five-star ultra luxury hotels.”

Taking the audience through three cities in Turkey, the presentation showcased some of the must-see sites of the country like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and the underground cities and Goreme Open-Air Museum of Capppadocia. Turkey offers rest and relaxation on the beaches of Antalya, with sailing and deep sea diving in the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea.

Ozgur hopes that things will continue to look up as they travel through India. “India is a new market for Turkey. We have only spent the past two or three years promoting Turkey in India so it will take time, but I think we have done really well so far,” he says optimistically. For details visit www.goturkey.com.

LEAH GEORGE

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