Cappadocia coming to rely on winter tourism
NEVŞEHİR – Anadolu Agency
AA photoWinter tourism needs to be diversified in Cappadocia, which is famous for fairy chimneys, rock-carved boutique hotels, underground cities and natural rock formations, according to local tourism representatives.
“We are seeking new alternatives to draw more tourists in winter,” Göreme Tourism Development Cooperative Chairman Mustafa Durmaz said, adding that organizing tours to the Erciyes Ski center, which is close to Cappadocia in Kayseri, was among the alternatives.
Tourism has become increasingly active in Cappadocia between the spring and the fall, Durmaz said. “Now tourism is active throughout the year.”
Tourists from East Asia are especially coming to Cappadocia during the winter months, Durmaz said. “Tourists from countries like China, Malaysia and Indonesia, prefer Cappadocia in winter months. It has become a tradition for those people to come to Cappadocia in winter. But European tourists go to warm countries in these seasons.”
Durmaz said low prices in airline transportation and accommodation made the region more attractive for tourists from the Far East.
According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the region was visited by 125,927 tourists in November 2015. In December, the month of the lowest number of visitors every year, 78,242 people visited the region, said Durmaz.
“The outflow of tourist numbers grew apace during the New Year and Christmas holidays. Nearly 3 million tourists visit Cappadocia every year. One fourth of this number prefers winter tourism. If initiatives had not been made to revive tourism in winter, this number would barely exceed 2 million.”
Durmaz said tourists were enchanted by the snow-covered scene of the region and that hot balloon tours drew great interest from tourists who wanted to view the blanket of white panoramically.
“In past years, tourism was active for seven-eight months in Cappadocia, but now it is active for 12 months. After snowfalls the scene is magnificent in the region. As foreign tourists’ demand is high, winter tourism has become irreplaceable. The fall in prices in winter months is attractive for Far Eastern tourists and leads them to opt for Cappadocia. Also, the long holiday season starts in January and continues until the end of February in countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan. Foreign tourist groups are captivated by snow-covered rock-carved churches, underground cities and fairy chimneys,” Durmaz said.