Ski resorts preparing for busy season
While snowfall is yet to begin, people have already started booking hotels in Turkey’s ski resorts for the winter season, with many of these venues enjoying a heavy inflow.
“Snow has not yet started, but visitors are flocking to winter holiday and skiing destinations such as Kartalkaya [in the northwestern province of Bolu] and Sapanca,” said Aytekin Şahinbaş, the head of the Eastern Marmara chapter of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
It is not yet the season for skiers, but travelers, who had to be confined to their homes because of the pandemic but want to enjoy nature, are coming to those regions in droves, Şahinbaş said.
“Demand will even get much stronger once snowfall starts,” he added.
Around 200 local and international agencies have been organizing tours to the region, Şahinbaş said, adding that this would give the much-needed respite to the tourism industry, which suffered from the pandemic in the last winter season.
“Bookings already suggest an occupancy rate of 80 percent in Kartalkaya,” said Ercan Güner from the Western Black Sea chapter of TÜRSAB. “We are anticipating that the occupancy rate will be around 100 percent during the season. The skiing season will start around Dec. 20 or Dec. 25. Demand is much stronger than expected. It is impossible to book a room at the hotels in Abant on weekends,” Güner added.
Nature enthusiasts have started to show interest in the canyons in the Kastamonu province, according to Güner.
Kayseri in Central Anatolia, which is home to the famous ski resort Erciyes, is another province preparing to welcome a large number of tourists.
During the pandemic, the number of foreign tourists visiting Erciyes reached an all-time high, said Murat Cahid Cıngı, the chairman of Erciyes Inc.
“Tours for Erciyes already started to be sold abroad. As was the case in previous years, we will have visitors from Ukraine, Russia and Poland. Direct flights from three Polish cities have commenced. This year, we are also expecting visitors from the Latin American counties, such as Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Brazil,” Cıngı said, adding that they are also working to attract visitors from the Czech Republic Austria and Finland.
Cıngı also noted strong interest from local tourists in Erciyes. “The new season will begin around mid-December.”