Turkey is about to enter the tourist peak season and popular destinations away from the earthquake are expected to attract tourists again after a quiet period.
2023 is expected to be a golden year for the Turkish tourism industry, when destinations and staff are ready for a post-Covid-19 renaissance. But the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6 left more than 45,000 dead and more than 12,000 buildings collapsed. The government is still trying to solve the problem.
Many in the travel industry share the same fear: Will the disaster scare off guests? In the coming weeks, Turkey will enter peak tourism season and the entire industry is “holding its breath” in anticipation. Can Cavaloglu, president of the Mediterranean Federation of Tourist Hotel Owners, said the signs of recovery in tourism were “very good”. Flights are operating normally from most major cities and resorts. Business reopened. Kavaloglu believes the country will ‘have a better year’
It’s not the capital, but Istanbul is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. In 2022, international visitors will spend more than $13 billion on arrivals, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Being 800 km from the earthquake site, Istanbul was not affected. However, professionals in the city’s tourism industry remain concerned that tourists may not return during the peak summer season.
Büke Yurdadoğ, director of the famous Çukurcuma Hamamı public bath, says that compared to last year, the work has slowed down. However, she still believes that the city’s cultural, historical and architectural diversity will attract tourists.
We’re trying to engage guests as best we can.”
Recommended destinations: Sveti Stefan Church, alleys around Galata Tower, Bosphorus Strait, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Moda and Kuzguncuk districts.
This Mediterranean port city, in addition to its beaches, is also a destination for history, climbing and hiking enthusiasts. After the earthquake, tourist activity in the area declined, which greatly affected people working in the industry.
Suggested locations: beaches, pine forests and ancient ruins in Cirali, Olympus and Phaselis. Guests can also hike the Lycian Way along the coast, visit the historic Gelidonya Lighthouse and the village of Uçoluk.
It’s known as a summer spot, with resorts and nightclubs, as well as quiet seaside villages where visitors can spend the night watching the reflection of the moon on the water.
Inside the market, gallerist Mustafa and his son sell hand-embroidered tapestries, ovens and cushion covers. He said the earthquake prompted regular customers to call to express their concerns. However, it is still believed that the tourism industry will not be affected.
Several resorts here have opened their doors to receive earthquake victims. “Tourism is one of the biggest sources of income in the country. That’s why we need tourists. We have a lot of people living in this industry and in all districts”, he said.
Recommended destinations: Bodrum Castle, Theater and Cemetery at Halicarnassus and Debeklehan Arts and Culture Village
As the third most populous city in the country, Izmir attracts crowds that come in summer to party in Alaçatı, dance at beach clubs in Çeşme or taste wine in Urla. CiftCioğlu Ipekci, director of communications at a local hotel, said many guests had called to cancel their rooms. However, most bookings are still coming in this summer.
Cappadocia is one of the busiest places in Turkey. An eerie landscape with wind chimneys, stone churches and underground cities, CNN describes it as unlike anywhere else on Earth. This is also a place where visitors can experience, take pictures and see hundreds of hot air balloons every morning.
300 km away from the earthquake, Cappadocia is “completely safe”, according to Deniz Karkin, manager of the Argos Hotel. This is also the place with the lowest earthquake risk in the country. “Those who plan to go to Turkey can safely choose Cappadocia,” said Karkin.