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Mersin to attract Arab tourists with cruise ships
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 22 Aug 2011 Mon 10:10 am

Mersin to attract Arab tourists with cruise ships

MERSİN - Anatolia News Agency

Mersin, a city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, intends to be one of the main shopping and tourism centers of Turkey. The city currently preparing to host high volumes of Arab tourists via cruise ships. While it aims to boost its tourism with its pier and cultural heritage, shopping mall owners wait for cruises to boost tourism

Mersin is attracting tourists to cultural and natural beauty. Hürriyet photo

Mersin is attracting tourists to cultural and natural beauty. Hürriyet photo

Mersin, not merely a coastal city anymore, has blossomed into a center of tourism, thanks to a new project that will attract cruise ships shuttling wealthy Arab tourists to the city in the summer.

The city, home to an important port, first aims to attract Arab tourists to boost shopping tourism. As a result of the visa-free policy for journeys between Turkey and Arab countries, and Turkey’s ability to maintain good relationships with its neighbors, tourism witnessed a significant increase in some cities when compared to recent years and Mersin is one them.

Tourism trends have changed recently. In the old days, tourists were choosing the best hotels and few locations; nowadays tourists want to see the social and cultural heritage of many cities, instead of only one.

Among all the cities in Turkey, Mersin shines for these tourists because of its cultural heritage sites and new shopping malls. The cultural, natural landscape of the city will attract tourists as well as its shopping tourism. Mersin will attract wealthy Arab tourists with its shopping centers.

The city is also waiting to see large cruise ships during the summer months, while shopping malls are preparing to receive new investments in the city center.

Parallel to these developments in tourism, the shopping malls in the city have started to organize exclusive VIP tours, especially for tourists from the Middle East.

Mersin hosts lots of tourists from Lebanon right now; Lebanese tourists are known to spend more money than any other tourist that visits the city.

Lebanese tourists also prefer to use cruise ships due to the political controversies that they experienced in Iran and Syria.

The shopping malls owners are quite satisfied with the latest changes in Mersin. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Mersin Forum shopping center General Manager Adem Erol said shopping malls are very popular in Middle Eastern cultures. ”That’s why they prefer to shop from large malls when they visit Turkey,” he said.

Noting that Arab tourists think Turkey is the door that opens to Europe, Erol said: “Turkey is currently the number one country of the Middle East. People come to Turkey to spend money, rather than going to Italy and France.”

The current visitor figure of Mersin Forum is more than 2 million people, said Erol. “If we can use the potential in Mersin, Tarsus and Hatay, then more Arab tourists will visit Turkey.”

Currently, most of the tourists who visit shopping malls in Mersin are from Arab countries, said Erol. “Our aim is not just to increase the tourist figures, but also to host wealthy European tourists in Mersin.”

Erol said the Forum Mersin hosted 32 people from an Arab country the other day. “And they shopped for three hours. As a result of this shopping, we earned a total of $4,200.”

This is a really satisfactory amount, said Erol. “We aim to host groups like this in the future,” he added.

Noting that with the exclusive cruise and airplane tours, shopping malls aim to host lots of rich tourists in Mersin, Erol said: “We know that cruise ships are coming from Syria and Egypt and we have made decisions based on these cruises.”

Erol said, in the beginning of April some of the projects and decisions that the malls have agreed upon have been suspended. “But currently with the rising tourist figures, we are once again re-evaluating the decisions and new projects so we can develop the region and tourism in Mersin,” he added.

Anticipating that soon cruise ships will also start visiting Mersin, Erol said Mersin would be one of the largest tourist shopping centers in the world.

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