Tourists flocking to hotel where Erdoğan escaped coup soldiers
MARMARİS – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoThe hotel complex where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan narrowly escaped an attack by coup plotters on July 15 has become a popular of attraction among local tourists, as hopes rise for a recovery in the sector after months of strife.
İsmail Kuru, the general manager of Grand Yazıcı Turban in the Aegean resort of Marmaris, which Erdoğan left just minutes before it was attacked with guns and helicopter fire by soldiers during the coup attempt, said the facility had seen a spike in bookings since July 15.
As the failed coup bid was still underway on the night of July 15, Erdoğan sent his first live message to broadcaster CNN Türk from the hotel in a FaceTime interview, calling on citizens to hit the streets and resist the coup attempt.
A total of 11 soldiers involved in the attempt against Erdoğan were captured in Marmaris following days of pursuit.
“Those who are curious about seeing our hotel and its surroundings have already made pre-bookings [for the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday],” Kuru said.
An end to a temporary post-coup attempt ban on annual leave for public servants is expected to lead to a rise in the number of domestic tourists during the upcoming Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice).
İsmail Özbozdağ, the head of the local branch of the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TÜRSAB), said the fact that Erdoğan had his holiday in Marmaris and the media visibility of the resort after the coup attempt had led to an increase in demand.
The four-day Eid al-Adha begins on Sept. 12, which is a Monday, in Turkey this year, but the government has extended it to cover the whole week and the previous weekend in a bid to help the struggling tourism sector.
Marmaris saw a similar demand during Eil al-Fitr, one of the two major religious holidays, which occurred during the high season this year, Özbozdağ said.
“People had to sleep outdoors, in their car or the tents they bought here,” he said.
Hoteliers across Turkey, particularly in towns on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, are looking for ways to recover losses mainly due to a series of terror attacks since last summer and the diplomatic row between Moscow and Ankara.
The number of tourists from Russia, Turkey’s leading sector market, has decreased by 87.4 percent this year compared to the same period in 2015, down to a mere 183,828, according to TURSAB head Başaran Ulusoy.
Turkey is now hoping for a recovery in the Russian market following the recent normalization in ties between Ankara and Moscow.
However, sector professionals say Turkey has lost around 40 percent of its tourism revenue from the German market this year amid a drop in tourists from Germany.