Camping problem in Turkey
WILCO VAN HERPEN
For people who want to travel around with a caravan or camper, there are a number of very nice camping places in Turkey, such as Kaş, Cappadocia and Mersin.Considering tourism, Kaş is one of the happy few places in Turkey that has a nice facilitated camp ground. One of the biggest problems I have with Turkey at the moment is that in spite of the millions of tourists coming to Turkey, we still hardly have any nice and well equipped camping places. I have travelled a lot in Turkey and was, sometimes, pleasantly surprised by a campsite but in general, Turkey scores one on the scale of one to 10. I think the general opinion of the ministers in Ankara is that caravan and camper tourism does not bring in any money, but here they are very, very wrong. I can tell, by experience, that the average person that spends time at a campsite leaves more money behind in the country that they visit than an all-in resort hotel visitor.
There is the difference in:
1. Psychology: camping tourists are curious people. They go to a country in order to get to know the country. They travel allover from Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, England, France and other countries. I have even met people who had shipped their camper from the United States in order to discover the beauty and richness of this country.
2. Attitude: The children, most of the times those people travel with children or they are retired, which means they have money to spend. But in the case of children: If you manage to make a child enthusiastic about a place, this child will return to that country. This is a golden rule that also counts for advertisement in any country in the world, but unfortunately another poor segment of the Turkish advertisement society. Once you “have” a child it is quite difficult to lose it. They are very loyal to that specific brand.
3. The aim of visiting Turkey: people who come here with their caravan or camper are interested in the cultural heritage of this country. Something you cannot say for the people who try to find the cheapest offer for an all included holiday in Kuşadası, Antalya or elsewhere.
4. Spending behavior: It is true that a lot of people who come with a camper or caravan take a lot of food with them, but by the time they reach Turkey, their stock is finished and they have to buy ingredients from the local salesmen. This means an extra financial input for the local economy. They go out and dine in local restaurants and… they meet the local Turkish people who are, as you know, very friendly to foreign visitors. So the image about Turkish people changes.
When you have a look at the campsites in France, Germany or Austria, you see that those campsites are very well facilitated. They generally have a supermarket, playground, very nice toilets and shower buildings and swimming pools. But they also offer different services like a collecting and service point, where you can empty your chemical toilet or fill the water reservoir of your caravan or camper. Even petrol stations offer such services, so why do we not have this in Turkey?
During the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, there used to be very nice campsites in Turkey, but all of a sudden those camping sites disappeared. Take a giant city like Istanbul; you hardly find any campgrounds here. I know one in Uzunya, but that one also does not have too many facilities. We need a couple of good campsites in Istanbul, more then we have now.
I have complained enough; let’s go to the positive point for people who want to travel around with a caravan or camper. As I have told you, there are a number of very nice camping places. In Cappadocia you have, for example, Göreme camping or Göreme panorama camping. The campsites in Cappadocia are all situated near the beautiful Fairy Chimneys and other the highlights of Cappadocia. Then, there is quite a nice campsite in Taşucu near Mersin. Campsite Akçakıl is campground where they allow dogs and have basic facilities. It’s near the harbor that can bring you to Cyprus. Another perfect campsite is Campsite Dereli in Selçuk. Campsite Dereli is near the beautiful village of Şirinci and the ancient city Ephesus. Last but not least, there is Kaş camping. Located just outside the romantic Kaş, the staff and owners of this place make you feel at home. There are beautiful places to park your caravan or camper and many of them have a beautiful sea view.
The above-mentioned campsites are a couple of campsites in Turkey that are mentioned by ACSI Eurocampings. This is an organization that checks the quality of all connected campsites.
(http://www.eurocampings.co.uk) To give an idea of the poor situation, I will give you, just for once, a list with numbers that will show you the amount of associated campsites. In Belgium 160, Germany 1160, France 2736 and in the Netherlands there are 1122 campsites connected to ACSI. In Turkey, we just have 42 campsites … connected to ACSI. Very poor, indeed...
If I had the money for it, I would directly invest in a campsite. The people are, generally, more happy and… there is more social interaction going on. Neighbors are really neighbors and today they might be French, tomorrow Swedish or Turkish. People help each other whenever there is a problem. You might think that I am exaggerating, but I am not. I know from experience; my father used to be a manager of a campsite and… I have traveled around with a camper in Turkey for years. Every time, again, I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed mood of the campsites in Turkey.
So please Mr. Ömer Çelik, give importance to this branch of tourism. I guarantee you, these tourists are very precious and bring in (important for you and for the people) more money than you might think.