Turkey to host major snooker event to boost tourism

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Istanbul

Turkey is set to host its first World Snooker Tour (WST) between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3 in hopes of boosting the country’s coronavirus-hit tourism.

Antaya, a tourism hub on the Mediterranean coastline, will host the tournament which will feature 64 players competing for prize money totalling 500,000 British pounds (706,800 U.S. dollars), according to the WST.

WST has agreed on a four-year deal with the Turkish Billiards Federation to stage the event every season until 2025. The overall prize money will increase each year.

“We are thrilled to continue snooker’s international expansion by staging a world ranking event in Turkey for the first time …

We are particularly excited to stage this event in Antalya because of the status of the city as an outstanding tourism destination,” WST Chairman Steve Dawson said in a statement. Antalya is renowned as Turkey’s tourism capital.

It has become a magnet for international sports clubs in the past few years thanks to the investment in new facilities, according to Recep Samil Yasacan, chairman of the Sports Tourism Association.

“We have taken every measure possible to promote sports tourism in Antalya,” Yasacan told Xinhua.

Turkey is recovering from record high daily COVID-19 cases and fatalities. The number of infections has markedly declined in the wake of a three-week lock-down which ended on May 17.

Tourism revenues are currently even more crucial for Turkey’s ailing economy, while its tourist industry has been severely affected by the pandemic, shrinking by more than 70 percent in 2020, according to official data. —APP