The outlook of the Turkish tourism industry is more buoyant than ever, with an increasing number of international and local hotel companies investing in the sector, said Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, co-organiser of the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC), to be held in Istanbul from February 6-8 2012.“It is the ideal time to invest in Turkey’s hospitality sector with international tourist arrivals expected reach 33 million by 2012. Indeed, more than 1.4 million Arab visitors are recorded so far this year.”Figures reveal that the tourism sector is currently contributing 11 per cent year on year economic growth, with Istanbul seeing a 30 per cent increase in tourist revenue for 2011. Worsley noted that this sets the pace for Turkey to achieve its goal of welcoming 70 million tourist arrivals by 2023 - the 100th Anniversary of the Republic.Meanwhile, Mehmet Önkal, Managing Partner, BDO Hospitality Consulting in Turkey warned that investment in the sector is crucial.One of the key drivers of sustainable development is the consistent flow of investment and Turkey is lucky as it does not face the same challenges with financing as other markets. There does however need to be a more strategic drive that appreciates the needs of the market, as well as recognition of the unique requirements of a hotel development, as opposed to other asset classes.”Önkal said that Turkey is at the beginning of a property boom and that investors and stakeholders have yet to fully identify and utilise the investment opportunities presented by the tourism and hospitality sector, proven to be a catalyst for economic growth.Worsley said that the upcoming CATHIC will address both the opportunities and challenges, specifically those related to the availability of capital. “We will be joined by representatives frommajor Turkish banks and will discuss hotel financing structures and lending criteria, as well as issues involved in ensuring properties provide long term return on investment for owners”.The conference programme includes speakers with knowledge and expertise in regional and international hotel development, finance, hotel branding and operations, plus sessions giving perspectives from industry analysts.Key speakers at CATHIC 2012 include Cevdet Akcay, Chief Economist, Yapi Kredi Bank; Denis Hennequin, President & CEO, Accor SA; Eric Danziger, President & Chief Executive Officer, Wyndham Hotel Group; Angela Brav, Chief Executive Officer – Europe, IHG; Kurt Ritter, President & CEO, The Rezidor Hotel Group; Atilla Ozturk, CEO & Board Member, ASTAY; Serdar Bilgili, Chairman, Bilgili Holding; Simon Vincent, President - Europe, Hilton Worldwide; Roeland Vos, President EAME, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; and Lado Sakvarelidze, Chief Financial Officer, Redix.In addition to the conference programme, CATHIC offers various networking opportunities, as well as an exhibition. Delegates will have ample opportunity to meet other participants, discuss opportunities and to do business.