Big exodus from cities expected as Eid al-Adha holiday extended
Millions of people are expected to hit the roads to flock to Turkey’s coastal provinces or their hometowns as Turkish authorities have extended the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Having been followed the stay-at-home calls for a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish people have accelerated their summer preparations to spend the nine-day public holiday declared for the Eid al-Adha celebrations.
Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the hajj and the second most important religious festivity after Eid al-Fitr, was planned to officially start on July 20 and end on July 23.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on July 12 a decision, declaring that there would be a holiday on July 19, which is Monday, making it a nine-day public holiday, including the two weekends.
Citizens are expected to flock to tourism destinations or hit the road as early as July 16 to visit their relatives during the long holiday, which most probably will cause long lines and traffic congestion on major roads.
Firuz Bağlıkaya, the chairman of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), said they were expecting 10 million people to travel within the country to visit their relatives, friends or go to their own summer houses during the holiday period, which would contribute to generating 10 billion Turkish Liras ($1.15 billion).
“Demand increased as the holiday period extended. A long holiday opportunity has arisen for the domestic market,” Bağlıkaya said, adding that he thinks that the shares allocated by the hotels for domestic tourists will be completely filled during this period.
Pointing out that the demand for holidays started to increase 10 days before, Bülent Bülbüloğlu, the chairman of the South Aegean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators Association (GETOB), noted that the mobility has increased since July 9, especially in resort towns such as Çeşme and Bodrum.
Apart from the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of the country, the Black Sea towns also seem to attract the attention of visitors during this holiday.
Stressing that the Black Sea region started to become active as of July 1, when the restrictions were lifted, Murat Toktaş, the chairman of the Black Sea Touristic Operators Association (KATID), noted that especially bungalow hotels and small guesthouses were in demand and that there was activity in camping and caravan tourism.
One of the holiday alternatives where the most intense activity was experienced during the holiday period was the yacht and boat rental sector.
Begüm Doğulu, the chairman of the Yacht Tourism Association, said that the current yachts could not meet the demands because the number of domestic tourists who wanted to rent yachts and boats for the holiday period increased.