The future of tourism lays in Cappadocia
With its underground cities where early Christians sought shelter, churches with breathtaking icons and fairy chimneys, Cappadocia, one of the earth’s most invaluable touristic destinations, is in search of novelties.
Cappadocia used to be a place which harbored small bed and breakfasts, as well as big hotels targeting mass tourism.
Today, it is a place where beautiful boutique hotels are racing with each other, attracting the interest of big groups investing in tourism.
For instance, Doğuş Holding, which has been increasing its tourism investments for the past two years, has become a partner of Argos in Cappadocia, one of the most popular boutique hotels in Cappadocia’s Uçhisar village.
I had the occasion to talk about the Cappadocia’s current tourism standing with Ömer Tosun, the owner of the Museum Hotel and someone who has been in the business since the 1970s.
Tosun is a tourism visionary.
He is the person who started the balloon tours, which contributed 85 million euros in 2014 to Cappadocia’s tourism.
“When we started the balloon tour in 1992, we thought it would be limited to 20 to 30 balloons. Today, 200 balloons fly in Cappadocia’s sky,” he said.
For years, Tosun has spent a lot of effort to bring rules and regulations for the security of balloon flying.
With the intervention of the Union of Cappadocia Tourism’s infrastructure services, whose formation in which he was incremental, the rules were finally endorsed two years ago.
“We should have done that before four persons died in ballooning accidents,” he said openheartedly.
A dream of Tosun, who has transformed his Museum Hotel into a real museum where historical artifacts he has accumulated for years are on display, is one of a carpet museum in Cappadocia. But his dreams and visions are not limited to that.
He has rolled up his sleeves for health tourism, which will bring Cappadocia tourism into a whole other dimension.
“Cappodicia is one of the earth’s unmatched places. Mass tourism harms such a fragile geography. We need to take our tourism to a higher level by increasing tourism revenues without increasing the number of tourists too much.”
I would have never thought that thousands of tourists piled in the Göreme Open Air Museum can harm thousand-year-old frescos with only their breath.
But how could tourism in Cappadocia be taken to a higher level; how can you attract tourists with higher income?
“The key is thermal and health tourism,” says Tosun.
He has discovered through geothermal research that he initiated 6-7 years ago that Cappadocia harbors hot water resources rich in minerals. Without losing any time, he started two hotel projects that will serve health tourism.
Tosun is convinced that with the richness it has, Cappadocia can become an important point in the world’s thermal and heath tourism.
Cappadocia can bring a new orientation to the future of Turkish tourism, which has come to a point of frustration in terms of sun-sand-sea tourism.