Cunda Island welcomes tourists

Cunda Island welcomes tourists

Cunda Island welcomes tourists

Alamy Photo

Cunda (Alibey) Island, which is one of the favorite tourism spots in the north Aegean region, has begun to host local and foreign tourists with its old Greek houses, many of which are boutique hotels, cobblestones, churches and the dishes of Greek and Turkish cuisine.

Among the 22 islands of Balıkesir’s Ayvalık distict, which is described as the “Island City,” only Cunda and Lale Islands have settlements. Cunda Island, which is accessible by road and by boats from Ayvalık through the “Bosphorus Bridge” opened in 1964, is among the most important tourism centers of the north Aegean and Edremit Bay.

There are some special spots to take photos on the island, which is home to houses with red, blue, green and pink colored louvres and can be visited by walking through the historical narrow streets.

Those who come to the island can take a photo in front of the tree, where hundreds of evil eye beads are hanging, on the bridge, where Turks first set foot on the island, in front of churches, at the entrance of some Greek houses, and on the Aşıklar (Lovers) Hill.

Taksiyarhis Church, which has been turned into a museum, is one of the most visited places on the island. Also, Cunda houses are worth visiting with their doors, door knockers, windows, wood and stone workmanship.

‘Cunda ready for the new season’

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Ayvalık Hoteliers and Hostels Association President İbrahim Çolak said that Cunda will start hosting people as of next week.

Stating that the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus still affect people in some way, Çolak said, “The increase of temperatures and medical studies will be the reason for people to go back on vacation.”

Reminding that there is a decrease in occupancy rates due to COVID-19 this year compared to last year, Çolak said, “This situation will be restored once the virus disappears. We have an expectation of 60-70 percent compared to last year. New bookings are now starting. As the uncertainties in people’s minds have decreased, reservations have increased. All of our hotels are doing the necessary work for COVID-19. Due to the high number of boutique hotels in Cunda, such health problems can be resolved more quickly. All preparatory work has been done to the finest detail. With completed disinfection, seating and other works, Cunda is now ready for the season.”

Emre Akyalı, president of Cunda Island Restaurant and Cafeteria Association, stated that they did not have much expectation about this year at first. Akyalı emphasized that people were very bored in their homes during the pandemic process and said that they will go on holiday to relieve this stress.

He said they aim to complete this process in a positive way by providing services to people in reliable environments.

“We started to apply the notice given by the state regarding the process and started to serve. We hope that we will have a good season. We expect to have a busy season with people bored in Istanbul and crowded cities. We started hosting our guests, although we are not currently working at full capacity due to measures, our occupancy rate is fine; it will increase even more in July and August,” Akyalı said.