At a formal dinner hosted by the Izmir Development Agency on May 16, Izmir Governor Cahit Kıraç announced the development of a new tourism strategy targeted toward increasing tourism to Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city and securing its position as the host city of the 2020 World Expo.
During his opening speech, Kıraç noted that while Turkey as a whole saw some 27 million tourists in 2010, only 1 million of those tourists visited Izmir. Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna, is a port city located along the eastern Aegean coast; it boasts a long history of more than 8,000 years and played an important role in the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Today, while the city is frequented often by Turkish travelers, it has yet to capture the attention of international tourists, which is why the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in cooperation with the Izmir government and the Izmir Development Agency, is working hard to promote the city as a world-class destination.
The dinner welcomed Kıraç and other tourism and municipal officials, including more than 70 different journalists from 26 countries worldwide, including Travel Agent, whom the agency hopes will promote the region through various forms of international media.
“We want to introduce more of ourselves and our cultural heritage to the rest of the world,” said Kıraç.
During a conversation with Kıraç’s translator, Travel Agent learned that the new strategy, while still in development, has a tentative slogan that will promote Izmir as “the most rewarding Mediterranean city.” The government and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are also planning to host numerous fam trips that will introduce travel agents to the region, which they believe is rich in its history, culture, gastronomy and beaches.
Currently, Izmir is an official candidate for the 2020 World Expo, running on the theme, “New Routes to a Better World--and Health for All,” which emphasizes the region’s naturally occurring thermal sources, vegetation and history.