Herbs contribute to Aegean tourism
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
The 9th Alaçatı Herb Festival will be organized this year between April 5 and 9 in İzmir’s popular coastal district of Çeşme’s Alaçatı neighborhood. The event is expected to draw more than 1 million tourists to the town.
Over 100 herb species growing with the spring rains in the region, including radicchio, wild radish, leaf mustard, hibiscus, ivy and blessed thistle, are among the most important sources of income for the locals. As the culture of living a healthy life develops amongst people across the world, the number of herb festivals is on the rise, too.
Such festivals organized in other resort towns like Ayvalık, Urla and Bodrum are drawing more tourists every other year. But the biggest activity happens in Alaçatı.
Herbs collected by local women will be served to guests during the Alaçatı Herb Festival, which will also feature panels, competitions and tasting sessions.
Tour packages with a price range between 270 and 673 Turkish Liras are also being sold for those who want to participate in the festival.
Thanks to the tours, which also include visits to the Ephesus ancient city and the village of Şirince, hotel occupancy rates reached 80 percent in Çeşme 10 days ahead of the festival. With locals visiting on a daily basis from neighboring towns, the district is preparing to host more than 1 million people.
The organizer of the festival, Çeşme Mayor Muhittin Dalgıç, said the festival was initiated to make Aegean herbs and culture live on. According to him, the trend grew rapidly with the contributions of locals.
He said the herb festival was considered the beginning of the season in the district, adding, “Tour agencies are also working for the event. We expect more than 1 million visitors during the festival time.”