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The Situation of Halal Tourism in Turkey

Turkey is a country that is centrally situated between Asia and Europe between the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean in the south. It has 7200 km of coastline with hundreds of beautiful beaches, of which 436 are blue flag beaches. Therefore, among 50 countries, Turkey ranked second in the 2015 Blue Flag program, following Spain with 578 beaches, according to results announced by the International Blue Flag jury (HDN 2015). There are also 19 blue flag-marinas in Turkey. Moreover, Turkey is very rich in many other natural beauties such as mountains, lakes, rivers, caves, and geothermal springs. In terms of geothermal tourism potential, Turkey is among the top seven countries in the world and ranks second in Europe with 1300 thermal springs (ISPA 2015). In addition to natural riches, the country is the birthplace of many ancient civilizations that left their mark in history. The country has a historical heritage of successive civilizations from the Hittites, Phrygians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Romans, and Byzantines to the Seljuks and Ottomans. All these natural and historical attractions make Turkey a well-known tourism destination (ISPA 2015).

The roots of contemporary tourism in Turkey go back to the establishment of the Tourism and Promotion Ministry in 1963. In the 1960s and 1970s, very limited signs of organized tourism activity existed in Turkey (Duman 2012). However, in 2011, Turkey ranked as the sixth most popular tourist destination in the world and fourth in Europe, according to the UNWTO World Tourism barometer (UNWTO 2015), attracting nearly 40 million tourists per year, and the number continues to rise every year. From 2013 to 2014, the number of international tourist arrivals increased by 5.3 %. As of 2014, Turkey’s total tourism income is 34.3 billion dollars and average expenditure per person is 828.3 dollars (AKTOB, 2015). Besides, the number of tourism licensed accommodation establishments is 4248 and the number of beds is 1,116,872 (YIGM 2015).

Moreover, Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport had more than 45 million visitors in 2012, of which 29 million were passengers on international flights. The Turkish tourism industry has grown above the global average in recent years, and the direct contribution of the industry to the GDP reached nearly USD 35 billion in 2014. The tourism sector targets 60 million tourist arrivals and revenues of USD 80 billion by 2023 (TURSAB 2015).

There is no statistical data on the number of halal tourists in Turkey or on the share of halal tourism in Turkish tourism. However, a number of secondary sources may offer some information on the situation of Islam-compliant tourism in Turkey. For example, according to a report by Shafaei and Mohamed (2015), Turkey is ranked third among halal-friendly Muslim destinations among Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, after Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (Table 16.2).

Secondly, according to the results of a research conducted in 2013, there are a total of 152 halal tourist facilities spread all over Turkey. Since the total number of

Table 16.2 The top ten

halal-friendly Muslim destination countries

Holiday destinations (OIC countries)

Ranking

Malaysia

1

United Arab Emirates

2

Turkey

3

Indonesia

4

Saudi Arabia

5

Morocco

6

Jordan

7

Qatar

8

Tunisia

9

Egypt

10

Table 16.3 The number of halal tourism destinations in Turkey

Destination

5-starred

4-starred

3-starred

Unrated

Total

Beach hotels and resorts

9

4

4

3

20

City hotels

4

8

4

6

22

Health and thermal resorts

6

1

1

9

17

Total

19

13

9

18

59

The distribution of these destinations to the provinces of Turkey is presented below (Table 16.4)

Table 16.4 The distribution of halal tourism destinations to provinces in Turkey

Destination

Beach hotels and resorts

City hotels

Health and thermal resorts

Total

Afyonkarahisar

4

4

Ankara

1

4

5

Antalya

7

1

8

Aydin

1

1

Balikesir

2

2

Rankin

1

1

?orum

1

1

Dhzce

1

1

Istanbul

1

18

19

Izmir

1

1

Khtahya

2

2

Mugla

8

8

Nev^ehir

1

2

3

Yalova

1

1

1

3

Total

20

22

17

59

tourist facilities in Turkey is 3830, the share of halal touristic facilities is about 4 % (Tekin 2013). More information about halal tourism can be found on an Internet site called halalbooking.com (2015) which includes halal tourism destinations. As of October 2015, this site hosts a total of 59 halal tourism destinations situated in Turkey. The details of these destinations are presented below (Table 16.3).

 
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