‘Golden year’ expected in Cappadocia

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The Cappadocia region has recently been drawing more interest from foreign tourists thanks to its fairy chimneys, valleys covered with natural rock formations, historical rock-carved monasteries, underground cities and hot-air balloon tours, and it is set to revive Turkey’s tourism sector.

Hotel occupancy rates are almost at 100 percent in April and May in Cappadocia, which is visited by some 2.5 million people on average every year. Sector representatives are already calling 2018 the “golden year,” as the number of tourists increased to a great extent in the first three months of the year and a positive atmosphere ousted malaise in Turkey’s tourism.

The number of tourists coming to Turkey plunged in recent years plagued by a series of terror attacks and a coup attempt in 2016. But thanks to promotional events in international fairs supported by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the launch of the “Year of Turkey in Tourism” in China and agreements made with Japanese travel agencies invited to Cappadocia in January, more tourists have been coming to Turkey.

The number of tourists from Far Eastern countries, including China, Japan and South Korea, Latin America and some European countries showed an increase in the first quarter of the year.

According to data provided by the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate, 168,448 tourists visited the museums and ancient sites in the region last year. This year the figure increased by 127 percent to 383,862.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Göreme Tourism Development Cooperative President Mustafa Durmaz said that Cappadocia had become a world brand and was expected to have a “golden year” this year in tourism.

Durmaz said hotel and bed capacity would be insufficient in the coming years if interest continues in the region. “The number of tourists started increasing in Cappadocia with the start of the new year [2018]. The first three months were good for the region. We expect a 50 percent increase in the number of tourists this year. The bed capacity, which is 29,000 in the region, will increase in the next years. But currently, we believe that it will not be sufficient,” he added.

Cappadocia, one of a kind

Cappadocia Touristic Hoteliers and Entrepreneurs Association (KAPTID) President Yakup Dinler said 2018 would be remembered as a very successful tourism period in the next years.

“We expect an important mobilization in Turkish tourism this year. Russians and European tourists, who did not come last year, will rush to the Aegean and the Mediterranean coasts. Cappadocia will have a good year, too. If everything goes as we expect, Cappadocia will have a good year especially with the support of Latin American and Far Eastern tourists,” he said.

Dinler said Cappadocia is unique in the world in terms of opportunities for tourists.

“This year we expect to see tourists from southern Europe and the Baltic countries as well as Argentina, China and Japan. Sea resorts always alternatives but Cappadocia is one of a kind,” he added.

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