With Turkey lifting nationwide curfews and lockdowns as of July 1, local tourists have been flocking to some of the well-known tourism hubs in the Aegean region, giving a sigh of relief to the badly hit tourism industry that closed down for one and a half years during the pandemic.
“We were close for nearly a year. The arrival of local tourists was like medicine to us,” business owners in the western provinces of İzmir and Aydın told daily Hürriyet on July 5.
In a bid to see how the tourism industry is responding to the lifting of curfews and lockdowns, reporters from the daily wandered the Aegean coasts starting with Urla district of the İzmir province as their first stop.
“Hotels and hostels at the center of Urla were full by July 2. The public beaches were overcrowded,” the daily reported.
“Right now, we are far away from the incomes earned in previous years. However, the situation at the moment is satisfactory, and we will hopefully see better days in the future,” a waiter working in a cafe at a beach in Urla told the daily.
According to the daily, the conditions in İzmir’s Sığacık village is the same as in the Urla district. While public beaches are packed with people, the small village is facing heavy traffic congestion due to the sudden inflow of local tourists.
Reporters were shocked to see the crowds of people at the ancient city of Ephesus in the Selçuk province of İzmir.
It is hard to “find a place at the car parking,” they said, adding but business owners next to the ancient city were longing for international tourists.
“Usually local tourists come here. From abroad, we mostly see Romanian and Ukrainian tourists coming here. That is not sufficient. We need tourists from the EU and the United States to come here,” a local said.
According to an official, the daily number of people coming to the ancient city is nowadays around 3,000, which used to be about 15,000 before the pandemic.
While speaking about their last stop at the province of Aydın’s Kuşadası district, reporters said that while entertainment places, bars, restaurants and cafes remained full at night, beaches remained crowded during the daytime.
Hurriyet Daily News