Cruise ships are coming back to İzmir
A lot of people do not consider visiting passengers on cruise ships as genuine tourists. After all, they only come in the morning and leave the city in the afternoon. They visit the city in big crowds, fill up some restaurants and go back to their cruise ships when their time is up.
I am sure this is how many in İzmir have approached visitors on cruise ships.
But once the ships stopped coming, and anchoring to the Alsancak port, that is when we understood the importance of cruise tourism.
Actually, their numbers tell us a lot.
Tourists coming with cruise lines revisit places they like in five years’ time.
I know it from myself. I have revisited the cities that I have sailed to on a cruise ship.
First, you make an observation and take note about that city. Once the visit is over, you start making plans for the future to visit that place again.
For instance, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Hamburg, and Tallinn are cities I have discovered on cruises, which I have ended up revisiting later.
I have always loved having cruise ships in İzmir. It is a huge pleasure to watch them from the Kordon. In the past, we have seen three ships entering the bay on the same day.
Ships have been avoiding İzmir for some time but it appears this period is ending. Ships have taken back the Aegean coasts on their 2019 calendars.
This is good news. However, both İzmir and Kuşadası need to prepare for the visiting ships.
First of all, we need to increase written materials. We should not forget the digital platforms either.
We have to develop specific applications that explain and promote İzmir. We should set up walking and visiting tours for tourists. They should definitely visit Selçuk, the host to the ancient city Ephesus and House of the Virgin Mary and the colorful Kemeraltı.
Let’s train our small shopkeepers that cater to tourists. Let’s not repeat our past mistakes, let’s learn from them.
The role of business associations
I started journalism by the end of 80s. It was the area where newspapers started to have economy sections.
In 1989, a group of businesspeople in İzmir came together and started to set up an association. I started to watch the Aegean Young Businessman Association (EGİAD). Even that became officially established.
In 1990, 47 people became founding members. The EGİAD assumed important missions in critical moments of the Turkish economy. I can fairly claim they are one of Turkey’s most dynamic, innovative, and creative associations.
Each one of their reports is like a note left for history archives.
As a journalist, I have always benefited tremendously from these reports.
It has been nearly 30 years. Both the world and Turkey are currently passing from critical periods.
Business communities will play an instrumental role in the upcoming period. I hope associations with young members like the EGİAD will assume important missions.