Bolu, nature paradise, welcomes visitors again
The northwestern province of Bolu has become popular again with the start of the normalization phase on June 1 and aims to welcome over 1 million visitors by the end of the year.
Called “the heart of nature” and located between two metropolitan cities Ankara and Istanbul, Bolu is home to Gölcük and Abant nature parks, Yedigöller National Park, the Ottoman town Mudurnu and Göynük, which was declared cittaslow (slow city) in 2017. The city offers an alternative for those who want to spend a different holiday.
After about a two-and-a-half-month break within the scope of coronavirus measures, works are continuing for the mobilization of domestic and foreign tourism in Bolu, where nature parks and historical districts started to return to their old days.
Bolu is preferred by those who want to enjoy the nature and get away from the noise of the city every semester. The city broke a record by hosting 1.7 million people last year and is expected to host 1.2 million visitors by the end of the year, taking into account the epidemic process this year.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the president of the Western Black Sea Hoteliers Association (BAKTOD), Halit Ergül said that the nature parks and accommodation facilities in the city started to serve with strict measures.
Expressing that tourists can come to Gölcük and Abant nature parks, Yedigöller National Park, historical districts Mudurnu and Göynük, Ergül said, “Almost all hotels were opened in Bolu. We opened our hotels with strict mask, social distance and hygiene rules. We started welcoming people gradually. I think we will return to the old days within a short time.”
Ergül pointed out that people’s interest in nature tourism increased and added, “In nature, people can stay away from each other and maintain social distancing. It can be a little more difficult with an umbrella and sunbed by the sea. But we will not force people into this. All our hotelier friends took their precautions. Our guests can come with peace of mind. This year, three months are gone. We expect to reach 1.2 million people.”
He explained that thermal tourism started to take its place in the sector as an alternative to nature tourism in Bolu.
“The number of thermal facilities in our city is increasing every year. I think that thermal tourism will start sooner after the coronavirus. Thermal tourism facilities will recover the fastest since they host mostly domestic guests. I think everything will be fine.”
Stating that people want to be in nature during their holiday, Ergül said, “For this reason, adventure parks started to be built in each facility and province. People can have a lot of fun there. Social distancing is compulsorily maintained in adventure parks. Previously, the activities used to be held here at intervals. Adventure parks are available for our guests, no matter which hotel they stay in.”
Stating that Bolu is at the forefront of winter tourism as well as nature and thermal tourism, Ergül reminded that the hotels in Kartalkaya region host hundreds of thousands of guests every year.
The sector was not affected because the coronavirus outbreak came to Turkey at the end of the winter tourist season, Ergül said, and added, “Kartalkaya and ski tourism were not affected by coronavirus. Every year, interest is growing more and more. Turkey’s best slopes are in Kartalkaya. That’s why we have the highest occupancy rate in ski tourism. Ski and winter tourism have never been affected by the coronavirus. I think that it will not be affected in the next winter season, too, thanks to the measures.”