Crisis Management and “Turkey Home Campaign”

In a constantly-changing world, a destination is expected to monitor and develop its image to keep being attractive for visitors, investors, entrepreneurs as well as its own inhabitants. A fair number of places have been experiencing a branding process that creates added values rather than maintaining conventional marketing.

The world-wide campaign, launched under the title of “Turkey Home” by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2014, came to life with help of an extensive knowledge that sprang out of experiences gained till then, from workshops organized between the relevant sectors and the academic circles as well as out of researches focusing on perception-image aspects. “Tulip”, one of the symbols in Turkey that was first used by as a means of promotion at the turn of the new millennium has sustained to be the logo, this time, for this global campaign and Turkey brought into play the sympathy and attraction it won till then. No slogan has been used during the campaign that strives to communicate Turkey’s tangible and intangible values and assets to the rest of the world under the concept of “Home of”. The campaign has also given particular importance to the goals that come with branding reviews and tourism diplomacy.

It goes without saying how significant crisis management can be for destination branding and destination image. As the sum of the strategies, responses and works designed to help deal with periods of crisis, crisis management requires;

Completely accepting there is an ongoing crisis and taking moderate measures to eliminate it,

When hit by an image crisis, sometimes the best way to cope with it is to remove the causing circumstances. When Turkey faced a failed coup attempt in 2016 and experienced a series of terrorist attacks, it had to struggle with the image crisis it was inflicted and fight directly against different terrorist groups inside and outside of its boundaries. By doing so, it showed great determination to eliminate the cause of the problem the whole country came face to face with. Now, the hard efforts are bringing back a country that has successfully fought terror, regained confidence as a destination of tourism and put the Turkish tourism economy on an upscaling track. Turkey achieved in 2017 to increase its tourist number by 30% when compared to 2016.

Hosting well-known organizations in sports, culture and arts

The best elements to stop experiencing image-related problems with tourist destinations especially during vulnerable times are again the cultural, art and sport organizations. Turkey Home Campaign, with this in mind, has stepped up its activities locally and internationally. Turkey put tremendous efforts in bringing the Euro league finals to Istanbul and made it to become the destination partner to this world-famous organization. Turkey, taking part as a guest country in internationally-acclaimed gastronomic festivals such as San Sebastian Gastronomika and Taste of London, made itself widely known in the world of gastronomy tourism. Other well-appreciated organizations like Istanbul Bienali, Contemporary Istanbul, and Istanbul Art Week that take place in Turkey are events we gladly contribute to. Turkey has also participated in the street festivals organized abroad to build a direct communication and interaction with other countries under this campaign, thereby highlighting its positive contributions to the products and destinations it offers. One of the best examples that stand out the public-private cooperation in this field is the Turkey Festival in Russia. Held in Moscow’s Krasnaya Presnya Park on 16-18 June 2017, the festival welcomed over 150.000 guests, marking a noteworthy success.

Welcoming opinion leaders in Turkey

As did in the past years, Turkey is still welcoming opinion leaders from all over the world through its own means or those provided by the private sector. (Please visit for the press images from the fam-trips and hosting activities of 2016 and 2017)

Promoting a destination via movies, TV and books

The promotions for Turkish movies continue abroad under this successful campaign. The Turkish soap operas have become very popular in various regions. They are playing a considerable role in evoking an interest for the Turkish language and carrying Turkey’s image-building works to a higher dimension. Our Ministry’s efforts made Cappadocia the subject of an animation film named “Tadeo Jones”. Produced by Spain and released in August 2017, this movie already met 4 million movie-goers in theatres. Also available on DVD, “Tadeo Jones” is still being shown in movies of many other countries.

A marketing campaign alone is not enough, however. Aside from activities conducted under a certain campaign, a destination that focuses on image rebuilding should communicate with local leaders, investors and companies. Public Relations and advertising campaigns may be important; however, they cannot substitute for the interaction built with entrepreneurs, travel agencies and tour operators. It is highly important to deliver the same message throughout the campaign. Price reductions, charter incentives, insurance funding and such other steps would help a tourist destination in image crisis recover. The delegations headed by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministers on duty and joined by private sector representatives made countless contacts, meetings, informing gatherings and press conferences inside and outside of Turkey. The sector-focused fairs and expos, too, made great contributions to Turkey’s image-improving endeavours. The contacts with tour operators were never suspended and joint projects were produced to keep their confidence in Turkey at a high level. We carried out joint advertising and marketing activities as well as fam-trips with about 70 tour operators that bring tourists to Turkey. Turkey extended the scope of a $6,000 financial backing program for tour operators carrying tourists to the country on a permanent basis.

Professional approach is a key to success. First, relevant researches that help determine the current situation should be conducted on the target mass. As in the case of Turkey, the contents of social media were analysed and relevant situation analysis regarding Turkey’s Home Campaign were performed.

The Internet and the social media are of crucial importance in building communication with others in the modern world. “Turkey Home Campaign” is continuously advancing our dialogue with people on the social media. Maintaining a positive communication with millions of individuals from different target markets, communities and age groups is an issue we highly value during this process. The conventional media has a feature to design and propagate the news across the globe. The social media has been considerably used by tourism organizations because it provides an environment where people directly have an access to information and dissemination of organic contents is available. Touristic activities and holiday offers on the social media ranks 3rd worldwide. This shows how influential the social media is in the image and marketing of a place. Turkey Home Campaign has become so powerful and effective that it’s now one of the top five promotional campaigns in the world.

As the marketing- and promotion-related index constructed within the scope of Global Data’s 2017 research concludes, the Turkish tourism campaign ranks 6th among 20 countries in Europe. It shows us how Turkey Home strategy went well. And we believe in the power of culture and tourism diplomacy and communication

İrfan ÖNAL, May 2018