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TRAVEL > Interest in camp caravan on the rise

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency

With its increasing tourism potential, Turkey has turned its attention to caravan tourism. The interest in such camper travel is continually rising, increasing the country’s attraction for a different segment of tourists. ‘Thanks to its geographical position, Turkey is an ideal ‘Camp Caravan Paradise,’ says official Bülent Karaboncuk

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Holiday-makers’ main reason for choosing caravan tourism is to be in touch with nature and to have independent trips to natural areas. AA Photo

Holiday-makers’ main reason for choosing caravan tourism is to be in touch with nature and to have independent trips to natural areas. AA Photo

Turkey has accelerated its investments in attempting to attract more caravan tourists as countries around the world recognize the potential of such visitors as an alternative revenue stream.

“Thanks to Turkey’s geographical position, the fact that it is surrounded on three sides by the sea and has various plant species and other natural beauties, Turkey is an ideal ‘Camp Caravan Paradise,’” said Bülent Karaboncuk, a board member of the Fédération Internationale de Camping, Caravanning et Autocaravaning (FICC).

“Our country is ready to be one of the pioneer caravan tourism centers with its historical and natural beauties, hospitable people, rich culture and large spaces for camping,” he said, adding that caravan tourism had made progress in recent years around the world.

Holiday-makers’ main reason for choosing caravan tourism is to be in touch with nature and to have independent trips to natural areas, Karaboncuk said, but added that this did not necessarily mean that people who preferred such a vacation only focused on sea, sun and sand.

“Alternative tourism-lovers define the ‘vacation’ concept as comfortable, economic and being in touch with nature,” he said.

“Tourists who prefer this kind of holiday provide a great economic return, as they stay for a long time in the countries they head to,” Karaboncuk said, noting that there was currently an inclination toward individual tourism rather than mass tourism.

“In many countries, this type of tourism is encouraged a lot. If it’s supported here with the same encouragement, our potential will rise more than expected,” Karaboncuk said.

 “The long-lasting wars in the Balkans dealt a big blow to caravan tourism and Turkey was one of the most affected countries,” said Karaboncuk. European tourists headed for other countries within easy reach, and Greece received the lion’s share of such visitors, he added.

“Greece organized frequent ferry runs for those coming from central and eastern Europe. It also reserved those ferry runs only for caravans and practiced an ‘on-ship camping’ service by providing showers, restrooms and electricity. And it’s still in practice,” he said.

Karaboncuk also recently participated in a press meeting organized by the Federation of Camping and Caravanning in Russia and the Russian Caravaners League.

“It seems that Russia will be a new and important destination for caravan drivers within a short time.

For example, Russia, which is going to be hosting important sports events like the 14th Winter Universiade in Kazan in 2013 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, has begun advertisements to draw caravan-lovers as tourists. They are aiming to close the gap between Russia and other countries,” he said.

“However it’s not only Russia that has accelerated its works, but Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine have taken new steps to develop camp caravan tourism, too,” Karaboncuk said.

July/07/2012

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