City of tolerance has high expectations in tourism
Known as the city of tolerance, Mardin, which welcomed 3 million tourists last year, expects to host 5 million people this year. The southeastern Turkish province aims to maintain the momentum in tourism this year.
As one of the most important tourist attractions in recent years with mosques, madrasas, churches, narrow streets and stone houses, Mardin’s hotel occupancy rates reached 90 percent in March and April. Now preparations for the new tourism season continue in the city.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Mardin Governor and Deputy Mayor Mustafa Yaman said that after providing peace in the city with the support of the locals, important works were carried out to improve the infrastructure of tourism.
Yaman said that they maintained peace in the city with cultural and artistic activities and festivals, adding, “Mardin has been used to peace and it became the capital of peace.”
He pointed out that thanks to this peaceful environment, the tourism season has been extended to 12 months in the city.
“In 2018, the city broke a record in the number of tourists. Over 3 million guests came to visit the city in day trips. Our goal now is to break new records. We expect 5 million tourists this year,” he said.
Yaman said that hotels are full even in semester holiday,“ and added, “Reservations are very good. We believe that everything will be better in Mardin and this peaceful environment will be maintained,” he said.Hotels almost full in April
The Mardin Tourism and Hoteliers Association (MARTOD) President Özgür Azad Güngör said that they had difficult days in tourism in the past but all troubles were overcome over the last two years.
In the city of 49 hotels and 6,500 beds, Güngör said, tourism broke a record last year, adding that they have high expectations this year, too.
“Polls reveal that seven out of 10 people want to see Mardin. The city is much popular right now. We want to break the last year’s record this year, too. Our goal is to reach 5 million people. January and February numbers were higher than our expectations. The occupancy rate in March is high and almost full in April. The world’s eye is on Mardin; it is known in Europe. This is why demand is high,” Güngör said.
İsmail Sancar, owner of a tourism travel agency, said that they had a good season last year and believe that this year will be good, too. “Tourism began to revive in March. Hotels are full in April and May. We have got a restless season waiting for us. We got a good momentum and we will maintain it,” he said.
Harmony within the city
In addition to its historical texture, Mardin is among Turkey’s most unique places to visit thanks to the harmony within the city, emanating from the positive bonds shared by different religions.
Deyrulzaferan Monastery, Virgin Mary Church and Mor Yakup Monastery are some of the other important historical sites to visit, particularly for those into cultural tourism. Mor Gabriel Monastery, 23 kilometers from Midyat district, is the third largest monastery in the world.
The Dara Ruins, where ancient rock tombs dating back to the 5th century A.D. are located, are viewed as the “Ephesus of Mesopotamia.” The Dara Ancient Site was one of the important settlements located on the Silk Road.