H.E. Hami Aksoy, Turkish Ambassador to Serbia: We get to know each other better by exchanging tourists

Over 230,000 Serbian tourists visited Turkey last year

Following Turkish Airlines launching additional flights between Belgrade and Ankara, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Serbia, H.E. Hami Aksoy, stated that he was satisfied with the cooperation between the two countries. In addition to more flights from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport, Air Serbia has also increased the number of its flights from Niš and Kraljevo to Istanbul.

H.E. Hami Aksoy, Turkish Ambassador to Serbia /Photo: Goran Zlatkovic

“Tourism is a sector to which we attach great importance. Last year, we signed an agreement with the Republic of Serbia on mutual recognition of COVID vaccines, and that had excellent results. In 2021, 85% more tourists from Serbia visited Turkey than in the pre-pandemic period. Statistical data show that over 230,000 Serbian tourists visited Turkey last year. The number of tourists from Turkey who visited Serbia increased by 95% and stood at about 48,000. Our goal this year is to increase the number of visits from Serbia to Turkey in the 2022 season to at least 300,000. If everything goes well, we will reach a figure of half a million Serbian tourists. The Republic of Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister came for an official visit to the Republic of Serbia on July 16, 2021. On the occasion, he met with the Serbian Minister of Tourism, Trade and Telecommunications of the Republic of Serbia, Tatjana Matić. The two officials agreed to form a working group covering the tourism cooperation between our two countries. The first meeting of the Working Group was held in November 2021 in Istanbul.

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, visited Turkey in January this year. At the same time, the joint committee met and four important agreements were signed between our two countries, one of which covers tourism. If I could somehow summarize the relations between Serbia and Turkey, I would say that this period has been the best in the history of relations between our two countries. Our goal is to increase economic, tourist and cultural cooperation in all fields and to cooperate on a larger and better scale. We believe that we will achieve this with the support of our culture and tourism attaché,” said Ambassador Aksoy.

Ambassador Aksoy also mentioned that the Turkish Embassy plans to hold an event at the Belgrade Fortress in May with the goal of promoting Turkish cuisine. He also pointed out that he was pleasantly surprised by how much young people from Serbia were interested in Turkish culture and language, and the fact that Turkish series is immensely popular in Serbia.

“Our goal is to connect Serbia with Antalya by direct flights all year round via Turkish Airlines”

Turkish language courses are regularly held at the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Institute in Belgrade, and currently, over 2,500 people are attending the courses. In the next period, various projects aimed at Serbian youth are planned with the view of encouraging them to visit Turkey, and establishing an even better connection and cooperation between the two countries.

The ambassador also spoke about Turkey’s presentation at the Belgrade Tourism Fair. On this occasion, nine exhibitors from Turkey will take part in the Fair with a wide range of new products, as well as the traditional Turkish products that people in Serbia are already acquainted with. In addition to the already popular summer destinations, the not so well-known tourist attractions in the country’s continental part, such as Ankara, Cappadocia and others, will be presented at the Turkish stand.

“Our goal is to connect Serbia with Antalya by direct flights all year round via Turkish Airlines. We are currently talking about this with Air Serbia. I hope we will succeed as Southern Turkey has lovely weather all year round, perfect for tourist visits. I would also like to underline that we are not only working on bringing more Serbian tourists to Turkey but also encouraging Turkish tourists to come to Serbia more, as your country does attract a lot of attention. Our two countries have a visa-free regime and soon enough, passports will not be needed as only a chipped ID card would suffice for entering either country. This region is appealing to Turkish tourists because of the significantly lower prices compared to other western countries, good living standards and the similarities we share. Our goal is to get to know each other more and better by launching additional flights and exchanging more tourists,” Ambassador Aksoy concluded.

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