‘Blue crab tours’ a favorite of tourists in southwest Turkey
MUĞLAA growing number of tourists visiting Dalyan, a popular tourism center in the southwestern province of Muğla, are opting to join special “blue crab tours,” during which they catch, learn about, and then release blue crabs.
Dalyan is home to the İztuzu Beach, which was chosen as the best open-air field in Europe by The Times readers in 2008, and where blue crabs as well as beautiful sea and sun draw the attention of tourists.
By taking part in boat tours, tourists in Dalyan are able to see rock tombs and caretta carettas, as well as hunt blue crabs.
Özay Akdoğan, who has been a tourism official in Dalyan for 26 years, said they host nearly one million local and foreign tourists annually around the Köyceğiz and Dalyan canals.
Akdoğan said Russian tourists, who have been returning to Turkey this year after a period away due to a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Moscow, are particularly interested in blue crab hunting in the area around İztuzu Beach.
“Tourists collect the blue crabs on the boat. We show them which are male and which are female. When hunting is finished, the crabs are left to the sea again. At the same time, male crabs are hunted by the Dalyan Fisheries Cooperative, cooked and served to tourist boats in the region,” he said.
Akdoğan added that they had diversified tourism in the area with the Köyceğiz Lake, the Kaunos ancient city and mud baths, but recently the most popular tour among visitors is the blue crab hunting tours.
“Dalyan is a favorite in the world, not only in Turkey. Our region appeals to all tourism categories thanks to its sea, sun, sand as well as spring waters. This is why we receive great demand,” he said.
Many tourists who come to Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, find themselves joining blue crab tours and say they are amazed by Dalyan’s natural beauty.
Russian and Ukrainian tourists are dominant
Tourist guide Mehmet Orden said he had organized various tours in the region for eight years and showed the beauties of Dalyan to holiday goers.
There has been a notable rise in the number of Russian and Ukrainian tourists coming to Dalyan from nearby Marmaris, he noted.
“Our guests swim in one of the world’s best-protected beaches, İztuzu Beach. We also take them on blue crab tours to give them a different experience. We put the crabs back in the sea once the tour is finished.
Guests are also able to see caretta carettas, visit the Kaunos King Tombs, and take a bath in the mud baths. These tours make everyone happy,” Orden said, adding that this blue crab tours are generally preferred by families with children.