These kinds of trends aren't as rare as people might think, the industry sees spikes like this all the time, while certain media exposure can lead to a permanent boost for particular destinations
(PRWeb UK) September 6, 2010
Turkey is currently seeing an influx of tourists from its Arab neighbours, which industry insiders are putting down to the continuing popularity of imported Turkish soap operas such as Noor, also helped by both Ankara’s recent decision to relax visa requirements for some countries, and the ready availability of cheap Turkey holidays across the Arab market. Compared to 2009, Turkey has seen a 33 percent increase in tourists from Arab countries, with 105,000 visitors arriving in May.
Though the series has since ended, with the finale attracting 85 million viewers across the Arab world, its effects are still being felt across the Turkish tourism industry, with large numbers of visitors avoiding the traditional sights of Istanbul in favour for locations featured in the shows.
“These kinds of trends aren’t as rare as people might think, the industry sees spikes like this all the time, while certain media exposure can lead to a permanent boost for particular destinations,” says Ian Raine of holiday experts ulookubook.com. “Just look at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland - The Da Vinci Code helped transform it into a multi-million pound tourist attraction, bringing in 1,000 tourists a day compared to a handful previously. This so-called “soap opera effect” is having a massive impact - the inter-Arab market for all inclusive Turkey holidays has risen by some 50 per cent over the past two years.”
Under its original Turkish name Gümüs, the soap opera ran from 2005 to 2007, but became a pop-culture phenomenon when it began being broadcast across the Arab world last year as Noor (“light”). Starring Kivanç Tatlitug and Songül Öden, Noor challenges Arab norms, particularly the traditional balance of power between husband and wife, prompting Saudi Arabia's top judge Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan to call for the deaths of owners of stations broadcasting the show.
“Despite all the controversy, it’s not going to stop people from booking a Turkey holiday ,” continues Raine. “Certainly, it’s not stopped the rise in babies being named after the show’s principal characters!”
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