The Health, Fitness and Alternative Tourism Congress and Exhibition (Hestourex) hosted in Antalya, Turkey ended amidst a grand fanfare on 9th April’17. The 4-day conference, the first of its kind in Turkey, inaugurated on 6th April was marked by the august presence of eminent Turkish ministers along with the globally acclaimed speakers. Though the majority of the speakers were Turkish, other recognized speakers also shared the dais providing key insights of the agenda of such a high profile congress.
The conference saw a mammoth gathering of 4000 foreign delegates that included 2000 hosted buyers from more than 150 countries. With such a high number of foreign delegates collaborating in this conference, the wheel of fortune is envisaged to turn in favor of the country very soon. As the event progressed, it was remarkable to observe more than a thousand academicians from various disciplines attending the fair sharing their valuable thoughts and experiences.
The opening ceremony saw the gracious presence of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and TRNC Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoglu welcoming the gathering with great ardor that set the perfect tone of the meet. What was fascinating about Mr Cavusoglu was a dignified mix of bossy boots and a passionate patriotic aura that radiated from this charming statesman.
A dear Friend of mine and one of the global leader Emin Çakmak shared his thoughts about recent developments in Turkey on Medical Tourism Front. He also updated us with the work Turkish Healthcare Council is doing to support the robust growth of Medical Tourism Industry.
Beaming with enthusiasm, the ministers actively participated in the meet championing the cause for which this ambitious convocation was being held. They looked highly confident in their approach while handling the entire show stating that Turkey contemplates bagging a lucrative deal of 10 billion pounds right from the conference itself!
The conference of Hestourex unlocked its gates to the world rolling out the red carpet for highly valued stakeholders from different corners of the world creating a platform for huge business opportunities. The congress saw a whole-hearted support from the
-Ministry of Tourism,
-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
-Ministry of Economy.
-Ministry of Culture.
-Ministry of Development
– Ministry of Youth and Sports, and
– Ministry of Health.
In his inaugural address, the foreign minister stated that Turkey has already proved its worth so far its tourism potential is concerned. But the race and endeavor for excellence is an ongoing process which the country supports without a grain of reluctance.
Antalya – A jewel in the global tourism map:
Antalya is one of the world’s leading nations where tourists from abroad pour in for:
– General vacationing amid the country’s incomparable landscapes and a relaxed environment.
– Sports tourism.
– Medical and wellness tourism.
It was also learned from the exchange of views and information featured in the Congress, Turkey currently boasts of 60 alternative tourism segments out of which the most remarkable ones are in the health and sports domain.
Prominent Sports Tourism Destination:
Antalya holds a special position in the Global Tourism map as one of the premier destinations of sports tourism. Every year, world’s leading sports personalities including Olympians visit this land for extensive sports training. The country can truly take pride in providing a high grade sport training infrastructure that is much sought after by the sportspersons.
To bring in a whale of heterogeneity in sports tourism is the call of the hour. This was clearly spelt out by the Foreign Minister in the meet. Apart from the existing top grade Olympic swimming pools, a drive for further expansion is underway.
The minister in his fervent speech announced the ambitious plans for organizing the world’s biggest and most prestigious tennis tournament in Antalya. He promised to promote golf tourism too and would take it to the height of grandeur. In 2017 only, Antalya is set to host 20 international sports tournament.
Rising in medical and wellness Tourism:
Turkey is also considered as one of the top ranked health tourism destinations in Europe. Every year around 750000 patients representing 144 nations are treated in Turkish healthcare centers and hospitals. And that is quite a number!
Although the country had suffered a slump in tourism business last year, a major revamp involving substantial investments is being made to cover up the decline.
Hospitals are being put to large-scale amelioration with the installation of state-of-the-art medical facilities, latest equipments and technical knowhow. Emphasis on improving the quality of healthcare services is in full swing. That the government is making huge investments in private hospitals has been substantiated by the mushrooming of 30 city hospitals in Turkey and 1500 quality hospitals in Antalya. This city also boasts of having the first smart hospital in Turkey.
The Secretary General of Antalya Public Hospitals Association and the President of the Congress, Dr Necat Yilmaz announced that more than 200 papers will be placed at the congress. Many eminent scientists voiced their opinions that would further strengthen the expertise base of medical tourism in the country. The congress furnished further information on:
– immigration and health,
– maternal and child health,
– robotic surgery.
– bone and tissue transplant.
– organ transplantation.
– Cancer surgery.
Bringing in Turkey’s Thermal resorts under the conference limelight was a prudent effort to draw international attention about Turkeys unmatched wherewithal in this domain. Turkey’s thermal springs had been a legend down the ages offering a great foundation for sustainable wellness tourism market.
All round support leading to a grand success:
The Hestourex Congress saw the participation of a number of celebrated organizations like:
• Ankara Development Agency.
• The Turkish Media.
• The FUARA regional promotion council.
• Eminent hospitals in the country.
Their mission was all business with a prime motive of delivering world-class customer service in the domain of wellness and hospitality industry. There was, in fact, an ocean of promoters who were blessed with the right kind of foresight to envision the sheer scale of opportunity that lay ahead. Among them were:
• Fuarda Carotis Medical Travel
• Anatolia Doctors Group.
• Dok Torun Hotel
• Granos Thermal Hotel
• Prestige Thermal Hotel
• Ankara development Agency
• Ankara Umut Hospital
• Private Koru Hospital
Further development plans focusing on Mass Tourism:
Mr Cavusoglu had rightly observed that Turkey had earned the distinguished status of being among the first 7 countries in the world so far as statistics takes you to the scale of annual tourist visits to the country. Therefore, the focus on mass tourism is imperative and must be offered to the treasured international customers with the best value addition for the price they are paying.
Special mention of areas of attractions in tourism are:
– Kadir Un Tree houses
-Promoting caravan tourism
– Promoting Turkish salon treatments catering to the desires of tourists inclined on personal appearance grooming and beauty enhancement therapies.
– With the establishment of the congress center, Antalya is going to have a third airport to facilitate easy connectivity of domestic and international tourists and dignitaries.
The meet highlighted the significance of utilizing the resources and riches of the country in a sustained manner so as to reach a larger section of global clientele. This would simply harvest a deluge of revenue. Expectations are really big and attainable with a little calculated approach that might promise deals around 10 billion liras in the current year and 150 billion liras rolling in the short term.
The Exhibition platform offering business opportunities:
This formed an integral part of the meet that showcased the country’s inherent strengths in the tourism sector. As expected, the exhibition was dominated by the hospitality industry with leading hotels and wellness resorts presenting an attractive gallery of their products and services.
A couple of hospitals did take part in the exhibition. A notable participation was observed from the sports equipment industry highlighting the country’s reputation in providing high-end sports training and infrastructure.
The conference was sincerely bent on promoting innovative marketing concepts centered on the hosted buyers. The meet presented the right platform for B2B opportunities where the stakeholders enjoyed a great networking through important information and knowledge sharing. Grand commercial schemes through bilateral agreements and negotiations are quite likely to come up soon benefitting the partners in venture.
Hospitality at its best:
The Hestourex meet went several steps ahead in extending exemplary standards of hospitality to the esteemed delegates truly reflecting its culture that the country is well known for. The hosted buyers were allowed free travel in and around the city for visiting important sites and destinations.
They were put up in all-inclusive high-end resorts. They were entertained with the best cuisine and finest drinks giving them a full sense of gratification that one could expect in a foreign land. Surely, this conjures up a friendly business ambience that the hosted buyers would be willing to venture in.
Hestourex – Setting the benchmark in tourism
In all respects, Hestourex has set a benchmark in the domain of Turkish tourism but the journey towards excellence is continuous. All the natural resources and inputs bequeathed to Turkey is not enough and by no means should it be a reason for complacency, as voiced by the big gun luminaries present.
They felt, untapped precincts, if any, enriched with history, tradition, culture and culinary art must be employed to optimum potential for future hike in the capability of the Turkish tourism industry. Contributions should come from all stakeholders in substantial measures to make this country one of the top notch tourist destinations in the world.
The country is set to take tourism to all possible dimensions of health and sports sector. It is well prepared for organizing all related activities required to make its presence strongly felt in the global tourism domain.
The fair was indeed a grand success as anticipated by the organizers. Considering the massiveness of the event, though it was not organized to its full capacity as it should have been but that did not lessen the magnitude of its importance. As a maiden event, the organizers did a great job no doubt and assured a better show next year. Turkey’s tourism sector certainly has gained enough mileage through Hestourex promising a great outcome in the coming few years.