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Turkey - Tourism
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Date: 10-11-2012. - By Vesna Maksimovic

                                                                                                                                    View Company Profile


Balkans.com: Thank you for taking the time for interview with Balkans.com Business News. Mrs. Erseven, you are the General Manager of Ramada Istanbul Taksim. Could you introduce your hotel to our readers?

Yasemin Erseven: Ramada Istanbul Taksim is located in the heart of modern Istanbul with easy access to the Metro and to famous tourist attractions such as the Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sofia. Our hotel is just a five minute walk to the famous Taksim Square, providing the perfect location to explore everything the city has to offer. We offer 108 rooms including twin and single rooms in addition to junior suites. In addition to spa services, Ramada Istanbul Taksim offers steam and dry saunas, a gymnasium, as well as a fully enclosed swimming pool.  

Also offering a fully equipped six conference rooms makes Ramada Istanbul Taksim an ideal pick for business meetings.

Balkans.com: The hotel was recently renovated. Could you tell us about the volume of investment and works?

Yasemin Erseven: This was a challenging period of time for us as this was the first fully renovation since the hotel opened. We started with the guest rooms changing everything from the curtains to the carpets and beds. The renovation later moved to the lobby, and restaurant floor. We also renovated the meeting rooms installing new audio and visual systems. Over the next couple months we are planning on renovating the spa.

Balkans.com: Your hotel is located in Istanbul’s modern business and shopping district, near Taksim Square.With Istanbul being popular shopping destination and emerging business center, does it affect your business?

Yasemin Erseven: Yes this is affecting our business in a very positive way. We are only a 5 minute walking distance from the famous Taksim Square therefore this is one of the reasons why our guests choose Ramada Istanbul Taksim.

We are also a 10 minute walking distance from Lutfi Kırdar Convention Center where a lot of international congresses are held. Therefore Ramada Istanbul Taksim is an ultimate destination for travelers for both business and leisure.

Balkans.com: As a four-star hotel with wide range of luxury services and conference rooms, you are dedicated to both tourists and business clients. Has the economic crisis affected your business?

Yasemin Erseven: Travelling and going on a vacation is a luxury for the many of us therefore when there is an economic crisis one of the first things that people cut is travelling from their budget. Therefore we see a decrease in occupancy in economic crisis period.

Balkans.com: What are the challenges that hotels in Turkey face?

Yasemin Erseven: Apart from the VAT, we are also obliged to pay excise taxes (ÖTV). The government is keeping the tax rate at a very high rate. Especially ÖTV for liquor is very high. Our customers are not aware of this tax therefore thinking that it is us who is responsible for the high price.  This is a challenge for us.

Another challenge is Turkey is in a very vulnerable physical location. The economic crisis in Europe and the Arab Spring affect the tourism in a negative way.

Balkans.com: Could you tell us about the prospects in hotel business for the coming years?

Yasemin Erseven: Istanbul is becoming an ultimate destination for Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East because of its location and beauty. Also compared to Europe it is more economical to go on a vacation in Istanbul. Therefore, the demand for Istanbul will only increase and thus the hotel business in Turkey will only grow bigger and stronger.

Balkans.com: Our readers are companies, investors, and business people, who have invested or are interested in doing business in the region. What advice do you have for them?

Yasemin Erseven: Especially compared to Europe, Turkey’s economy is growing and moving in a positive way. Also, the government has a new “Urban Renewal” project which consists of reconstructing the old buildings all over Istanbul. Therefore this might be a good opportunity for people to invest in construction.

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