Visa exemptions granted to 6 nations may boost tourism

Türkiye has granted visa exemptions to the citizens of the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, a move which is expected to attract more tourists from those countries.

According to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Dec. 23, citizens of these countries who hold ordinary passports will not be required a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period when traveling to Türkiye for tourism purposes.

Hoteliers in the Black Sea provinces, which are popular destinations particularly among holidaymakers from the Gulf countries, voice optimism that the visa exemption can lure more tourists from those nations.

"We are likely to see more visitors amid the visa exemption decision," Murat Toktaş, the president of the Black Sea Tourism Operators Association (KATİD), told daily Hürriyet.

People in those countries "travel a lot," Toktaş said.

"The main impact of the visa exemption will be on travels from the Gulf countries. Holidaymakers from those nations mostly visit Istanbul and the provinces in the Black Sea region. We will probably see more tourists in those cities."

Toktaş expects a 50 percent increase in the number of tourists from these countries visiting Türkiye.

When asked why those 6 countries were selected for visa exemptions, Toktaş explained that the Tourism Ministry's Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) has been focusing on marketing activities targeting specific countries.

"The visa decision could be part of those efforts," he said.

Toktaş recalled that Türkiye had diplomatic problems with some Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, before the COVID-19 pandemic. "But Türkiye...

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