Mrs. Temelli, first of all thank you very much for receiving us, it is a pleasure to meet you. To start with, the global tourism market has experienced a very challenging time following September 11, in combination with poor global economic developments. However, Turkey is one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world and has been so for the last two decades. How does Marti Group target the international market and in particular, the huge U.S. market?
American tourists are very much interested in Europe, especially in Greek, Egyptian and, these days, Russian culture. The United States market should definitely be a target market for Turkey. I think, however, that it will take some time and the Turkish Ministry of Tourism should plan its approach. The main destination targeted to attract American tourists to date has been Istanbul. The resort destinations are very different. When we look at Egypt, it is a very good market for Russia, but international chains are managing the resorts. Therefore, Turkey should also establish partnerships on a managerial or investment basis. With the standards that the international chains have, American people would be more interested in coming to stay.
Golf tourism will also be a part of the investment plans of Turkish tourism. The Ministry of Tourism is targeting the development of new areas with hotels, golf courses, shopping centers, etc. Such projects are known in the United States but it is new for us. Right now, Marti Hotels is not involved in these golf projects but we wish to be in the future and this will hopefully attract American investors.
With the new positioning in the Middle East, American investors will feel more secure around this area.
Additionally, comparing the square meter costs from a construction point of view, they are half as much in Turkey compared to many important tourism destinations. This means that the return of investment in tourism projects will take half the time compared to, for example, what they are getting in Hawaii. That is why in five years I think we will be able to work more with the American chains and investors. Furthermore, we also need that to import know-how in technical and mechanical areas. Also, one must not forget that the U.S. is in the top range regarding quality of services.title