Turkey Steps Up Religious Tourism With Focus On Interfaith Harmony

Target: 75m tourists by 2023; $65bn tourism revenue by 2022

DESPARDES: Home to countless faith groups over the course of thousands of years, Turkey aims to unleash its religious tourism potential in order to diversify its range of tourist attractions.

“We are aiming to welcome 75 million tourists by the end of 2022 with an expected revenue of $65 billion,” said Chairman of Istanbul Tourism Associations (ISTTA) İbrahim Halil Korkmaz on Sunday.

He highlighted that the number of Muslim tourists had already reached up to 140 million by 2018, compared to a mere 25 million in 2000.

Korkmaz said one of the towns designated as a hub of religious tourism includes Şanlıurfa, in the southeast. Dubbed the “City of Prophets,” the city attracts visitors looking to find Abraham’s Path. The city is known where Abraham was thrown to fire and saved by God. The path that Abraham claimed to took ends in modern-day Palestine and is significant for various communities including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Alevi and Samaritans.

Turkey has already nearly reached its original 2023 goal of attracting 50 million tourists two years ahead of schedule, Korkmaz said.

The country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry announced it is now aiming to reach a peak of 75 million visitors by 2023 – a number revised up from 50 million, reports Daily Sabaah.