Antalya lacks New Year’s Eve spirit, businessman complains

Antalya lacks New Year’s Eve spirit, businessman complains

ANTALYA – Doğan News Agency
Antalya lacks New Year’s Eve spirit, businessman complains

A procession at the Santa Claus Museum in Demre, Antalya. DHA Photo

The owner of a famous hotel chain in Turkey has criticized the lack of a “New Year’s Eve spirit” in the touristic southern city of Antalya.

“Have you seen any ornamentation [in Antalya for the New Year celebrations]? Did you feel a festive atmosphere? Yes, we are not Christians, but we are [living in] a touristic city. We appeal to tourists to spend New Year’s Eve in this city,” said Fettah Tamince, the owner of the Rixos hotel chain, speaking at the weekly meeting of the Antalya Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (ANSİAD) on Dec. 9.

Tamince said people can directly fly to Antalya from many cities around the world thanks to the efforts of Turkish Airlines, but this alone is not enough to attract more tourists.

“Why doesn’t it work? Because we do not offer people anything but hotels. We don’t offer a proper opportunity for people to shop,” he said, criticizing the city's administration.

Meanwhile, Antalya Mayor Menderes Türel told daily Hürriyet that he had spoken with Tamince on the phone to discuss such problems.

“[Tamince] told me that he did not target the municipality in his speech. He said he underlined the necessity to invest in the city apart from the tourism facilities and to encourage more investments in the city.

Türel also said the municipality would welcome sponsors to put lights on the streets ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebrations, adding that Tamince had vowed that Rixos would sponsor decorations for Cumhuriyet Square, Kalekapısı and the Municipality Business building in the city.

Fikret Çağlan, the head of the Antalya Kaleiçi Culture and Life Association, told Hürriyet that the city is "not ready" for the festive holiday.

“Antalya is not ready for New Year’s Eve. The city cannot attract foreign or domestic tourists for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. The celebrations and performance programs, as well as decorating the city, should be ready by now. People should be taking photos of a lit-up Kaleiçi, rather than photos of ornaments in shopping malls. There is no Christmas spirit in the city,” Çağlan said.

Konyaaltı District Mayor Muhittin Böcek said his administration was preparing the district for New Year’s Eve by decorating the streets and trees.

“It is not acceptable to say that New Year’s Eve celebrations should not take place in Muslim countries. We hold religious and state issues separate. There are still 19 days before New Year and it is not too late for preparations,” Böcek said.