Tourism agencies play a crucial role in attracting and managing tourist flows.

Ceylan Pirinçcioğlu
VIP Turizm
Mehmet Ersoy

What are the main advantages of Turkey as a destination compared to its competitors?

CEYLAN PİRİNÇCİOĞLU Turkey is a vast and varied country boasting incredible landscapes and natural wonders bordered by four different seas. Well known as a great destination for relaxing beach holidays, it also offers many sporting activities, some of the world's most important ancient monuments, welcoming Turkish hospitality, and a delicious national cuisine. Turkey has it all from relaxing beaches and family holidays soaking up the sunshine, city breaks in historic settings, to action-packed activity holidays amid stunning scenery. People can explore the array of year-round pursuits available in Turkey, including white-water rafting, trekking, ballooning, yachting, and skiing, as well as a huge variety of other activities to experience, such as Turkish baths and spas, nature and wildlife, and shopping and nightlife.

MEHMET ERSOY You have to divide Turkey into two parts. One is resort areas, such as Bodrum and Antalya, and the other is totally different, the city areas, such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. The advantage of Istanbul is that it is a mix of both touristic and business opportunities. Other resorts are totally different. In the Mediterranean, we have a lot of competitors and they have already accomplished many things. At the end of the 1980s and in the 1990s, Turkey decided to enter the market with the all-inclusive concept. We only thought about mass tourism and family tourism. With this strategy, all around the world there are many competitors, especially in the Mediterranean, in places such as Egypt and Tunisia. Today, investors from Italy and Spain are visiting Turkey, trying to understand why this concept works here. We are now the sixth country for tourism potential in the world. We expect around 35 million tourists in 2014.

What does your company offer to the market?

CP VIP Turizm offers the chance to explore new worlds for both institutions and individuals with our out-of-the-box and special travel programs. Each one is filled with unique experiences and surprises. VIP Turizm is your destination and event management company in Turkey. For over 45 years, it has provided deluxe and/or tailored travel programs and event organizations to individuals, groups, and corporations from all over the world. Its headquarters is located in Istanbul, and it has six branch offices in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, and Izmir. It has a permanent staff of over 150, and employs up to 500 team members in addition as projects are undertaken.

Turizm has a vision of being global, both in its thinking and actions. Global service networks help organize travel and events across seven continents for individuals and institutions, while redrawing the boundaries of the tourism sector. Tailor-made programs for individuals and institutions make VIP Turizm unique in the sector, with its versatile, unique special-interest programs for honeymoons, safaris, wine, culture, gourmet, art tours, and even space travel.

ME We started from nothing in 1985 as tour guides, and were quick to learn how to meet tourists' expectations. Having freshly graduated from university, we decided to go professional, and in 1991 opened Etstur. And by 1998, we had become the market leader. Subsequently, we branched out into wider tourism-related activities. In the beginning, we rented resort hotels in Antalya and Bodrum in the south of the country. In 2003, realizing that we could not continue solely in this capacity, we decided to invest in a number of hotels and alter their concept. It would not have been possible to create higher standards had we merely managed them. In 2004, we decided that there was scope to also enter the airline sector, so we purchased a 50% stake in AtlasJet, and at the end of 2006 bought the remaining 50%. In 2005, we became what I would label a true tour operator.