Published On: Tue, Sep 12th, 2017

Turkey targets “Faith Tourism” market worth US$ 20 Billion

Turkey, which has sacred places in many provinces, eyes to increase its share in “World Faith Tourism” which has reached a huge potential of US$ 20 billion worldwide. Hundreds of millions of people in the world spend a total of US$ 20 billion visiting places they believe to be sacred. Turkey, which has hosted numerous civilizations throughout its thousands of years of history, is a challenging candidate to receive its share of the giant cake with its belief centers located in 43 provinces. It is a reported fact that the number of people traveling abroad has reached 1.2 billion and a significant number of these people travel for faith tourism.

Turkey has spent more effort to promote faith tourism since 1995 and in some regions such as Van and Trabzon a significant increase in tourist activity has been witnessed after opening of historical spots such as Akdamar Church and Sümela Monastery for religious services.

This development in the tourism movement has brought new plans to the agenda in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and various universities. While travel agencies included faith centers in their tour programs, maintenance, repair and restoration work at centers with this feature gained momentum.

The Ministry aims to increase the number of visitors by improving the environment management, lighting and transportation facilities of such important attraction which belong to the history of the three divine religions, within the scope of its Faith Tourism Project. According to reports the authority will also provide support entrepreneurs to build hotels on faith tourism routes and will focus on overseas introductions of Turkey’s richness in this area.

In Turkey, the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul is a favorite center for tourists with an annual number of visitors about 5 million. The second most visited place after the Blue Mosque is Hagia Sophia.

There are holy places in 43 cities of Turkey mostly in Istanbul, which are of great importance especially in terms of Islam. Apart from these, the following centers are also visited for other religions: St. Pierre Memorial Museum in Icel-Tarsus Paul Monument Museum, Virgin Mary House in Selçuk, Izmir Demre in Antalya. Nicola Church, Bursa Hagia Sophia, Manisa Alasehir Alaşehir Church.

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