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Turkey Tourism and Migration: Critical Issues Report


Introduction

The culmination of the World War II brought about an upsurge in the globalisation wave. The United Nation was formed and global regulations enacted to govern the countries that are signatories to the UN statutes. Improvement in technology and infrastructure has further enhanced globalisation. Globalisation has improved the movement of people from one country to another. The ease in movement of people has greatly increased the number of tourists and migrants.

Migration involves voluntary movement of people from one country to another with an aim of improving living standards through searching for jobs, further education, family reunions among other reasons (UNHCR 2015). Tourism, on the other hand, involves the movement of people from their usual environment for a period of not more than twelve consecutive months for leisure and business purposes (Ugurlu 2010).

The fundamental issues that affect tourism and migration are interrelated since both involve movement of people from a country to another. The following are some of the key issues that are associated with migration and tourisms in Turkey in the post World War II period.

Government laws and support

The Turkish government has made legislations that support the development of the tourism industry. Through the Ministry of Tourism, the government has implemented most of the enacted laws and made some strategic plans for the tourism industry. The Vision 2023 is a perfect example of government strategies and plans for the industry. On the matter of migration, Turkish government has enacted some laws allowing foreign investors and hence permitting regulated legal immigration. The governments of Germany and the Turkey have a bilateral agreement dating back to the early 1960s that led to high emigration rates from Turkey (Sari n.d). The Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection enacted in 2013 opened Turkey for political refugees (Johnson 2013).

Economy

Migration and tourism in Turkey has resulted to economic growth of the country with a considerable source of the country’s GDP coming from the tourism industry and investments made by immigrants. Emigration has also been an economic determiner with a considerable amount of foreign currency coming from remittances. However, dealing with the refuges issue has negatively affected the Turkey economy, with significant budgetary allocations to cater for refugees from the Middle East and some parts of Africa.

Social and cultural systems

Tourism and migration involve movement of people. In the course of movement, people meet with persons from different parts of the world and people with different social cultural systems. Turkey’s social cultural system has highly been impacted by tourists especially from Europe and Russia.

Environmental impact

Tourism, like most economic activities, is dependent on depletion and manipulation of natural resources. The interdependence of tourism development and natural environment has two principal dimensions where the natural resources are crucial asset of a tourist destination, but developing the tourism industry as tourist destination have impact on the environment if not done in a sustainable manner.

Turkey’s most resorts are erected in land that is productive in agriculture and consequently reducing the land for farming.

Additionally, Turkey’s historical and archaeological sites are under threat following the continuous developments in the tourism industry. These developments also have a negative effect on rural and urban buildings, most especially in the coastal region. Over the years, small towns which dependent on farming and fishing have transformed into extensive tourist centres marked with modern infrastructure. Development of the industry has further resulted to deterioration of wetlands, forests, rivers, and seas.

The land in coastal areas is also congested with buildings and the problems associated with congestion like sewerage problems are evident.

Terrorism and political instabilities

Terrorism and political instabilities especially along the Middle East has greatly influenced migration and tourism into Turkey. Most of political refugees from Iran, Iraq, and more recently Syria have moved to Turkey seeking asylum. Tourism has been negatively affected with most countries especially the US issuing travel advisories to their citizens.

Population

Population increase and decrease in countries are realised when there is mass movement of immigrants. Mass movement of immigrant mostly result from political and terrorism refugees. After the World War II, Turkey’s population drastically reduced with increase in the number of emigrants headed to Europe. However, the trend has changed in the recent past where immigration has increased Turkish population because of illegal and irregular immigration from the former Soviet Union Block countries (Kirisci 2003).

Technology and infrastructural development

Technological and infrastructural developments have heightened success of the Turkey’s tourism industry. Additionally, the improving transportation networks and communication systems have enhanced movement of immigrant and emigrant in relation to Turkey.

Turkey’s inbound tourism

Turkey is among the leading tourist destination in the world ranking number. The number of tourist has been in steady increase since 2004 despite the economic meltdown experienced in Europe, major source of tourists visiting Turkey.

The number of inbound tourist has been steadily increasing reaching an all-time high of approximately 37 million in the year 2014, drastically increasing the Turkey’s rankings in the worlds’ most visited countries charts. This is notwithstanding the political crisis in the region (Anadolu Agency 2015).

As mentioned earlier, majority of the foreign visitors come from Europe with Germany, Bulgaria and Georgia having a considerably contribution in the number. From Asia, Russia and Iran constitute the highest number of visitors to Turkey. In 2012, these six countries made up 79% of the total number of visitors from the world. Additionally, the number of local tourist has been in the increase.

Imperatively, the tourism sector in Turkey is growing healthier in comparison to other countries to the Middle East and North Africa, which have been negatively impacted by the political and regional crisis. Forecasts show that international inbound tourist rate will increase fast to exceed 42 million by the end of 2015 (Bridgewest 2015).

Turkish government’s commitment to the tourism industry

Tourism is one of the main earners of the Turkeys GDP. Therefore, the government of Turkey is fully committed to ensure that the tourism industry is successful. The government is involved in the industry through the Ministry of Tourism in a number of major ways. First, the government is the grand strategic planner. It lays down the plans that will drive the industry. In 2007, the government involved all the tourism stakeholders and put down a long-term strategy. The strategy elaborates every aspect of the industry and all the factors that will affect it from 2007 to 2023 (Ministry of Culture & Tourism 2007). The Turkey tourism strategic plan is one of the longest in the world.

The second major way that the government involves itself is through funding the activities in the industry. It also funds other related industries like the transport and communication.

The government of Turkey is the main marketer of the tourism in both the local and the international market. Therefore, it involves itself in the process of advertising and signing of bilateral and multilateral agreement with different countries on matters of tourism.

The fifth way, the Turkish government is the chief organiser of the whole industry in the country. It has put in place institutions throughout the local, regional, provincial and the national levels. The institutions with the help of proper governance promote public and private sectors, the NGOs participation in the decision-making process pertaining to the tourism industry.

Turkey tourism resource audit, and key tourism products and their accessibility

Coastlines and beaches

Turkey’s coastlines are key resource in attraction of tourists. The country coastlines go beyond 8,000 km and high number of sandy beaches. About 430 of these beaches have been awarded blue flag status and they include beaches in the Mediterranean coast and Aegean coastlines among others (Sayan et al. 2011).

Hotel and hospitality

The hotel and hospitality industry in Turkey is another key tourist attraction. Most of the resort hotels are found in Antalya, and Ayden. Hotels with relatively large bed capacity are found along The Mediterranean and Aegean regions. The former capital, Istanbul is endowed with the biggest and the best city hotels. Throughout the country, the hotel industry is thriving and a major tourist’s attraction.

Historical sites

Turkey is considered to be among the origin of human civilisation due to prehistoric Anatolian civilisation. The remains of these ancient civilisations are preserved in museums in Ankara. Ottomans mosques and schools dating more than 100 years are major tourist attraction sit (Turkey Travel Guide n.d).

Sacred sites

Turkey has significant sites and building for Islam, Christianity, and other religious philosophies. They include Sues Alter in Bergama, Temple of Artemis in Sardis, Alaeddin Mosque in Konya, Blue Mosque in Istanbul, among many others.

Access

Airports

Recently, the Turkish government has committed a lot of money in building and renovating airports. Modern airports are mostly found in large cities of Ismir, Ankara, and Istanbul. Other towns have old and new, big and small airports. The privatisation of airports in the region has further diversified sources of money for expansion (Aviation Economies 2014).

The road transport

Most of the roads in the urban areas especially in major cities are modernised with privatised but organised transport services. The rural Turkey has feeder roads that allow accessibility to tourists. Tour companies are available and they use their vehicles to ferry tourists in the urban and the rural Turkey.

Intercity trains

Modern high-speed trains have improved travelling and therefore, enhanced tourism accessibility especially between the cities of Istanbul, Konya and Ankara. However, older trains are still in use in some towns and cities.

Accessibility for the handicapped

The Turkey tourism industry has put in place measures to ensure that tourist attraction sites are accessible to the handicapped. Modification of airports hotels and other infrastructure to include ramps and enough spaces is a major change that has enhanced accessibility for handicapped tourists especially in Istanbul (Sage 2015). However not all the aspects of tourism has been modified and therefore, some parts are still not accessible.

The legal and business environments in Turkey, and their influences on the tourism industry

Turkey regulatory and legal environment

In Turkey, regulatory and legal issues are outlined in the country’s constitution. Article 10 of the constitution gives an implication that Turkish citizens and non-citizens should be regarded as equal. However, Article 16 of the constitution gives restrictions on to foreigners’ rights in line with provisions of the international law.

The law clearly outlines the process of visa acquisition and the related restrictions. In addition, the law is clear on processes of business permit acquisition and more so on the running of tourism industries.

Turkish regulatory and the legal environment have significantly influenced the tourism and travel industry especially the free Visa legislation. Some of the effects include the sustainability of the industry due to legislations on environmental conservation. The privatisation of some aspects of the industry has drastically improved tourist services standards in the country. However, some of the regulatory are retrogressive and, therefore, hindering development of the tourism industry.

Turkey business environment

Turkey has a favourable environment for business especially foreign investment. Turkey’s strategic position, connecting Europe and the Middle East, and strong domestic market and stable economic policies has attracted investments form local and international businesspeople.

Growth in business has necessitated the development of infrastructure. The development of infrastructure has increased the accessibility of Turkey tourism destinations. The thriving foreign investment together with bilateral and multilateral trade has helped in marketing the Turkey’s tourism products.

Key competitors of Turkey within the Middle East and Europe region

Though the tourism in Turkey is gradually making improvement, it is facing considerable competition from the European countries and the Middle East.

Some of the key competitors include Spain, France and Switzerland among other countries.

Spain

Spain has an approximate of 60.6 million visitors. Spain is endowed with beautiful heritage sites, cultural resources, and the entertainment industry and is a popular destiny for business travellers. The Spanish government also ranks among the first in travel and tourism prioritisation (World Economic Forum 2015).

France

France has an approximate of 84 million visitors and continues to attract more with its cultural and natural resources, rich history, attractive coast lines, and ski resorts among others. The infrastructure and airports are and high international openness has enhanced accessibility. The government commitment to the travel and tourism industry is high (World Economic Forum 2015).

Italy

Italy has considerable competitive index and it is famous for its monuments, scenic towns, scenery and various world heritage sites. Culture and entertainment demand for the Italy tourism and travel industry is relatively high. Additionally, Italy’s tourism services facilities are exceptional (World Economic Forum, 2015).

Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its beautiful mountain landscapes, natural resources and world-class tourist services. The infrastructure and conducive business environment has increased Switzerland tourists competitiveness.

The United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates attracts business and leisure travellers due to its unique environment and infrastructure. The government has significantly supported the travel and tourism industry more so by infrastructure development.

Israel boasts of unique cultural history and religious importance. It also has World Heritage cultural sites (World Economic Forum 2015).

Notably, the language barriers, especially in the interior eastern parts, security issues in the Middle East, are among the aspects that have derailed competitiveness index of Turkey.

Middle East and Europe regions agreements, global political issues, and their influences to the Turkey’s tourism industry

The East Mediterranean International Tourisms and Travel Exhibition

Turkey’s participation in the tourism expo has continued to market the tourism products to the participating countries. Additionally, the show has cemented partnership that will shape the future of tourism of the participating countries. In the past, Turkey has sent its travel and tourism agencies, hotel manager among other tourism professional to the exhibitions and will host the 2016 exhibition.

The European Union’s Schengen arrangement and visa agreements

The visa multilateral agreement in the European region and the free Visa policy in Turkey has enhanced cross boarder movement. The agreement has increased the number of tourist in the region. However, measures to regulate illegal immigration and curb terrorism.

Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism

This is an agenda that pushes, for among other things, caring for the environment. Tourists tend to relate care of environment to the care extended to the environment, thus the agenda gives European countries a competitive advantage. Additionally, with caring for the environment will preserve the natural tourists’ attraction sites (European Union 2011).

The security issues in the Middle East

The Middle East region is a popular tourist destination, but insecurity is a major concern for the visitors. The tourism industry is due to lose a lot with nations issuing travel advisory to their citizens (Duran & Ösdemir 2015). The tourism sector is further affected by the escalating refugee crisis in the region and Europe. The Russian sanctions on the Turkey’s economy are likely to affect the tourism with the competitors taking advantage of the situation.

Turkey’s overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the tourism industry

Government support and solid plans

The Turkish government fully committed to the tourism industry. Through its Ministry of tourism, it has put in place strategic plans for the industry. This is a positive mechanism since the government provides a solid sense of direction. The government also funds major projects related to tourism such as infrastructure development. The commitment of the government is a major strength in the Turkey’s tourism industry.

Endowment of unique tourists’ attraction sites

Some of the historical and significant sites are only found in Turkey. This is a strength that if the Turkey’s tourists authorities can make use of to enhance the global competitiveness of the country’s tourism industry.

Syria war and terrorism

The increasing state of insecurity in Syria and the Middle East poses a serious threat to the Turkey’s tourism industry. Some countries are giving travel advisories to their citizen against visiting Turkey. The linking of Turkey to radicalisation further brings damages to the industry due to the consequent hostility from other countries (Avci 2015).

Lowering the cost of tourism

Turkey has employed the mechanism of lowering the cost of tourism to attract more tourists and heighten its competitiveness. The mechanism has paid and that explains why there are drastic annual increases of the number of tourists visiting Turkey. However, the cutting of cost mechanism is a weakness if it leads to compromising the standards of tourists’ services.

The threat from competitors

The Turkey’s tourism industry is facing a somewhat stiff competition in the regions of Middle East and Europe. The competitiveness of some of the countries in Europe is far too higher than Turkey’s especially from the global market. The lowering of tourism fees could have a negative impact with some of the tourists considering it cheap and therefore not suitable for them (Yusbasioglu 2010).

The strategic geographical location

The position of Turkey is so strategic, bridging Asia and Europe. The position is a key strength of Turkey and its tourism industry. Visitors who are travelling from Asia to Europe and from Europe to Asia make stopovers in Turkey boosting the tourism industry.

Language barrier in the rural interior

Although language barrier is not a major issue in Turkey’s urban cities, it is a weakness in the interior eastern part of the country, which hinders deeper access of most of the international tourists (Rogen 2015).

The Russian sanctions and boycotts to Turkey

The recent political tension between Turkey and Russia, after Turkey authorities shot down a Russian warplane, is a bad precedence for the Turkey tourism industry. Russian president ordered bans to Turkey’s products and economic sanctions, which will adversely affect tourism (Karagiannopoulos 2015). The citizens of Russia are actively involved in the sanction debate and hostility towards Turkey is apparent. Reports of tour cancellations are becoming more and more. The threat to the tourism industry is made worse by the fact that other countries allied to Russia may also be hostile to Turkey and further harming the industry (Mulderij 2015).

The Turkey’s propensity to develop its tourism products and the possible strategies the government can implement to make the destination remain competitive

Turkish government has proclivity of developing its tourism product by the virtue that it has set future goals pertaining the tourism industry, Vision 2023. However, continued use of economic resources can lead to depletion, which in this case includes tourism products. Therefore, the Turkish government should develop and preserve the current tourism products. On the same note, the government and all the stakeholders in the tourism industry should implement critical strategies to retain regional and improve global competitiveness.

Turkey should take development of infrastructure as a prerequisite in the process of improving accessibility. Airports need to be improved and road networks upgraded especially in the rural regions. The modernisation of all rail transport system is also required. Additionally, the government should invest in further development of communication networks.

Turkey should make elaborate plans to foster sustainable tourism. Decongestion of streets, proper town and cities planning, and environmental conservation measures should be put in place.

The lowering of tourism fees should be done in a sustainable way ensuring that the standards of services are not compromised in the process. Further, all the stakeholders need to offer intensive training to the workers in the industry with an aim of improving the services delivery.

Turkey is obligated to continually advertise and market its tourism product. It should make use of exhibitions such as the East Mediterranean International Tourisms and Travel Exhibition, international media, and other avenues to market its tourism product especially to new markets like the Americas and Africa.

The Turkish government should encourage investors who are willing to invest in the tourism industry by giving incentives and creating an enabling conducive business environment. Turkish government should commit itself to world peace sustainability, supporting political ideologies that lead to global cohesiveness and political stability. It should also liaise with countries that fight terrorism in order to curb refugee and illegal migration crisis.

Reference List

Anadolu Agency 2015, ,Daily News, Web.

Avci, K 2015, ‘Syrian refugees affect Aegean, Mediterranean tourism in Turkey negatively’, Todays Saman, Web.

Aviation Economies 2014, Airport Privatisation Update – 2014, Web.

Bridgewest 2015, , Web.

Duran, AE & Ösdemir, S 2015, , Web.

European Union 2011, Agenda for a Sustainable and Competitive European Tourism, Web.

Johnson, C 2013, , Global Legal Monitor, Web.

Karagiannopoulos, L 2015, , Reuters, Web.

Kirisci, K 2003, , Web.

Ministry of Culture & Tourism 2007, Tourism Strategy of Turkey -2023 A Brief Summary, Web.

Mulderij, R 2015, Russian boycott to Turkey because of warplane downing?, Web.

Rogen, S 2015, , Web.

Sage, J 2015, , Web.

Sari, OL n.d., Migration and Development: the Case of Turkish Migration to Germany, Web.

Sayan, S, Williams, AT, Johnson, DE & Ünal, Ö 2011, ‘A pilot study for sustainable tourism in the coastal sone of Antalya, Turkey: Tourists, Turtles or Both?’, Journal of Coastal Research, no. 64, pp. 1806 – 1810.

Turkey Travel Guide n.d., , Web.

Ugurlu, T 2010, , Web.

UNHCR 2015, , Web.

World Economic Forum 2015, , Web.

Yusbasioglu, S 2010, ‘Competition turns Turkey into ‘poor tourist paradise’, Hurriyet Daily News, Web.

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