Shaban Rashed, “I am an in love with ” answered:

Turkey has recently become one of the top tourist destinations for Arab tourists for reasons:

1- Affordability

Turkey is quite affordable to most Arab tourists. Compared to Western Europe countries, for example, Turkey is quite competitive. A tourist can live with the same amount of money they would spend in their own country while touring beautiful Turkey. Hotels, food, and transport are as expensive as or just a bit more expensive than they are in most Gulf countries (the origin of most Arab tourists to Turkey). It is even cheaper than some countries like Lebanon and Jordan in almost all aspects. In addition, Turkey wide ranges of prices. One can have lunch with only 7 TL, while another may have to pay 100. Furthermore, flight tickets to turkey are much cheaper than all other attractive spots, either in South Asia or Europe. Moreover, with the recent drop of the Turkish Lira (TL) value, it has been more attractive. I remember a TL was worth about 2.3 Saudi Riyals in 2013, while now, it is about only 1 Riyal. That has made a big difference to budgets of Arabs.

2- Proximity

Turkey is only a few hours away from most Arab countries. It takes only about 3–4 hours to fly from Riyadh, Dubai or Manama to Istanbul, and of course much less from Baghdad, Kuwait, and Beirut. Many people do not like or can't stand long flights to other potential hubs like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, especially when traveling with a family.

3- Variety

Turkey offers a wide range of everything. For many Muslim Arabs, it is important to have easy access to mosques wherever they go, for example. Hearing the call for prayers is something that many Arabs like, and this is not the case in other countries.

For those who are into western-like lifestyles, Turkey offers whatever there is. Night life is quite glamorous with all what it entails. Drinking and clubbing are available in most big cities.

Turkish landscapes can satisfy the need for almost everyone. Amazing beaches, green mountains, ice-covered peaks, farming plains, gulfs and straights, busy cities etc are all there. I can't think of too many countries that can offer such a variety.

The Turkish cuisines also offer a wide range of dishes that appeal to most Arabs. Turkish foods containing meat of all sorts in particular can be quite delicious to Arabs who have similar cuisines. Many Arabs struggle to find halalfood in many countries, while in Turkey, most don't even bother to ask whether the food is halal or not, bearing in mind the Islamic culture in Turkey. In addition, there are many popular Turkish restaurants almost everywhere in the Gulf countries, and that's why Arabs are familiar with the Turkish cuisine. In Saudi Arabia for example, there is at least one good Turkish restaurant in every main street in every big city.

4- Beauty

Turkey is no doubt a stunning country with breath-taking beauty of people, houses, nature, fashion, and everything in between.

5- Friendliness

Turks are known in most Arab countries for being friendly and approachable. They usually do not hesitate to stretch a hand and help strangers and tourists.

6- Familiarity

There are hundreds of thousands of Turks working in Arabia. Arabs are familiar with Turks. They are not strange or too different from Arabs.

Moreover, the Turkish drama has been extremely popular in the Arab world. Many Arabs watch such soap operas and form a very positive image about Turkey and they feel familiar with the settings and characters of people, and have a good idea of what to expect to see when visiting Turkey. Many would to see a particular street, beach, marina or square they have seen in one of those TV series.

Personally speaking, I would find it strange if any Arab tourist did not Turkey at least once. It is simply a perfect tourist destination not only for Arabs but almost everyone. No wonder it has lately received about 20 million tourists a year, and I bet the figure would reach 30 million soon.

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