Turkey is earmarking billions of dollars worth of private investment to develop infrastructure networks and tourism projects to connect two major cities.
The country has kick-started the construction of a $US6.7 billion (Dh24.61bn) rail and road project and a bridge that would reduce travelling time between Istanbul, where most international routes fly into, and Bursa, a key industrial city.
The plans come amid $120 million worth of advertising planned this year by Turkish Airlines, which aims to market Bursa, Bodrum and several other cities as winter destinations, said Temel Kotil, the company's chief executive.
"We have a lot of travellers going to Istanbul, but now we need to introduce the rest of Turkey to our customers," Mr Kotil said.
Arabian Gulf travellers, including Emiratis, have travelled to Istanbul in droves to see the Blue Mosque and the city's Islamic heritage sites. But Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, which is a four-hour bus and ferry ride from Istanbul, remains largely out of visitors' view.
Upon completion in 2016, the project will slash travelling time in half to two hours, said Vedat Muftuoglu, the Bursa vice governor.