(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Turkish tourism market is adjusting to the fall in Russian tourists that has been replaced by GCC, Indian and Chinese traffic, which is picking up strongly.
The tourists from the GCC, India, and China are filling the gap left by the Russians, said Fattah Tamince, chairman of Turkey's Rixos Hotels, which has properties in 12 countries including Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Turkey's tourism hit a severe blow when a Russian jet was shot down by Turkish forces in Syria, as Russian tourists stayed away from the tourist hotspot. "The market is picking up gradually," Tamince said in an interview with Khaleej Times. "We have replaced the Russian segment with GCC countries, China and India." "From July 13, we are increasing the number of direct flights from key cities of the US - New York, Washington and Boston - to Antalya, and the GCC region to facilitate the growing demand." He said that tourism is growing especially from Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE. "It is crucial that we increase the number of flights from Dubai to Antalya because it is public knowledge that Dubai connects the entire world. The change will be finalised towards the end of July," the hotelier said. On his plans of entering the Abu Dhabi market, Tamince said: "Abu Dhabi is the future. In light of the potential of the city, we have also bagged the ideal location, one that is surrounded by landmarks such as the Louvre and Guggenheim [Museums]." Considering the success of the Bab Al Bahr property in Ras Al Khaimah, he said he is in negotiations with authorities in the emirate to develop "a unique and explosive concept". In the Turkish city of Antalya, he is working on developing the largest hotel destination. The chairman says he not a hotelier but a destination creator. A self-made man, Tamince, who left his home at age 15, to become a businessman three years later and the richest man in Antalya. About his newest destination, Land of Legends, he said it is a multi-concept destination in Antalya that offers a unique experience for families incorporating the best entertainment and luxury hospitality. The unique city within a city includes the Land of Legends theme park, a luxury five-star hotel, a shopping boulevard, a wildlife park, a 280,000 sqm water park with 72 waterslides, a splash cinema and a water coaster. The $1 billion project began operations on July 1, where 15 million tourists will visit annually. Land of Legends took 30 months to construct. The entire property will begin operations towards the end of 2017; entertainment and other facilities will gradually open over the course of 2016-17. On the difference between Land of Legends and Europe and the US' Disney theme parks, he said: "The concept is entirely different. We have created our own characters, shows, concepts, strategy, philosophy and environment, courtesy of the famed Franco Dragone." -
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