Turks pitch tents for budget-friendly vacations

Turks pitch tents for budget-friendly vacations

Emre Eser – ISTANBUL

Turks are increasingly passing up skyrocketing hotel prices in favor of budget-friendly camping vacations. The sale of camping equipment such as tents has accordingly almost doubled. Some stores have expanded their camping sections to accommodate the growing demand.

The trend stems from increases in hotel prices of over 100 percent since more foreign tourists started flocking to the country to take advantage of the depreciation of Turkish Lira against their currencies.

Domestic tourists first gravitate towards cultural tourism with relatively lower prices. But those wishing to spend their vacations by the seaside can choose camping, which is a budget-friendly option after buying a few supplies to manage life outdoors.

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The sale of camping gear more than doubled in the first quarter of this year in Turkey compared with the same period last year. People especially preferred to buy these goods online. The tent camping spots at campsites typically are inexpensive, and the tents themselves are generally cost-effective.

“The sale of goods in the camping gear section increased by 120 [percent] compared to last year. The main product here is tents,” said Mutlu Erturan, the trading group head of Hepsiburada, one of Turkey’s leading online retailers.

“When we look at the tent sales, we see that the demand for three-person tents is 50 percent more compared to other tents. And this is an indicator that the preference of families for vacation has turned into a camping activity,” said Erturan in an interview with daily Hürriyet.

“Also the number of women buying these goods is increasing every day. When we compare the figures with the summer period [of last year], we see that women have quadrupled their purchase numbers,” he said.

Women, ages 28-39, showed the most interest in camping gear, he said.

Another official from the sector said some consumers start preparing for their summer camping vacations as early as winter.

“In fact, the sale of camping gear has accelerated starting from Feb. 20. We see a 140-percent increase in sales of sleeping-bags and tents, which are the most sold goods, in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period of last year, whereas the growth in the sale of [portable] director chairs is 270 [percent],” said Bülent Elçin, the trading director of Gittigidiyor, another leading e-commerce marketplace.

Sabahattin Ergin, president of Turkey’s Camping and Caravan Association, said that interest in camping sites has especially grown in the last couple of years.

“And this interest has led to a betterment of standards at the camping sites. Also, new investments have been taken in the new camping sites. In quality camping sites, there is the service of reception and 24/7 hot water, and even swimming pools,” Ergin said.

Tourists can spend the night at camping sites in the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions at prices starting from 40-50 liras ($6.9-$8.6) a night if they have their own tents, whereas the prices goes up to 60-70 liras ($10-$12) if they want to rent the tents. Breakfast is often included.

There are about 500 campsites in Turkey. They are mostly found in the Aegean province of Muğla’s Marmaris and Fethiye districts or the Mediterranean province of Antalya’s Kaş. But many camping sites in the Black Sea region and eastern provinces have also come into operation in recent years.