Istanbul hotel prices returning to normal following demonstrations

arting to?get back on track following a decrease during the recent demonstrations, the ministry of tourism said today.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Ozgur Ozaslan, the undersecretary for the Turkish ministry of culture and tourism, said the country was set to reach its target of 33 million international visitors (an increase from last year's 31.7 million?international visitors)?this year despite the protests surrounding Istanbul's Taksim Square.

He said an action plan was being prepared to increase visitor numbers to 50 million in the next 10 years.

Ozaslan?admitted the growth of visitor numbers had slowed recently?and the?unrest had a negative impact on certain districts in Istanbul.

Ozaslan added: "There was a decrease in the prices for hotels in Istanbul, but there had still been lots of international events happening and in the near future the prices will be back to what they should be."

He said tour operators would play a vital role in helping to bring more UK tourists to Turkey and the ministry of tourism was looking at potential campaigns to encourage this.

"We will be working with tour operators and providing them with any marketing materials they will need," he said. "We are organising workshops and fam trips and we will do joint programmes with them. We have also been having meetings with Abta, who came to Antalya last year and created a report on tourism in our country.

"We are working on an action plan to see our international visitor numbers increase to 50 million by 2023 and the revenue increase to $50million.

"We are trying to show tourists, who tend to stay close to their resorts, that there is so much more to Turkey. We have such a big history and a lot of culture to offer. We are looking at how we can keep our position as a popular destination for visitors around the world and we want to build on that."

The Turkish ambassador Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz said?the demonstrations had led to worldwide media attention but that the situation had improved drastically.

He added: "I think the lates market is going well for us through July and August and even into later in the year, because Turkey has a very lengthy tourist market and we are even growing as a winter market because of our ski resorts.

"I am constantly working on building the links between the UK and Turkey and I have been working with Turkish Airlines to increase the number of destinations available. This is something I will continue to work on.

"Turkey is rich in history and Brits like history and it could be something that tour operators could help to highlight and underline."

He said there were a number of projects under way which would help boost tourism in Turkey and work was?set to begin on a?new under water connection linking the Aegean side of the country with the European side la