Three new artificial lake projects to take off in Turkey’s north
Three artificial lakes will be constructed to complement the eastern Black Sea region’s long-time popular natural stop Uzungöl in order to host the rising number of Arab tourists, Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu has said.
“We are prepared to build a fantastic second and third Uzungöl in Trabzon. We will make a decision together,” Eroğlu said on Sept. 24 in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
The Uzungöl Natural Park, “dubbed Black Sea’s pearl,” is located 100 kilometers from central Trabzon. It sits at an altitude of more than 1,250 meters, covering 1,625 hectares of land including a natural lake completely surrounded by forests.
The lake itself is known for its trout and carp richness, while it also offers the chance for trekking, cycling, paragliding, bird watching and wildlife observation.
The Forestry Directorate (OGM), State Waterworks (DSİ) and the Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (DKMP) have already jointly begun seeking areas to build the artificial lakes, which they hope will be tourist hotspots.
Following an evaluation of archeological sites and transportation reports, facilities planned to include the artificial lakes will be constructed.
For now, the Tonya district’s Kadıralak Highlands - a recently-declared natural park at 1,300 meters altitude - tops the alternatives list. The area is already a popular destination especially for photography enthusiasts with the blue amsonia orientalis carpeting the lands every April.
Other alternatives include Hıdırnebi, Kasırga and Sis Mountain highlands.
New facilities will be constructed in the chosen spots with a build-operate-transfer model from six months up to a year, and the DSİ will be responsible for creating the artificial lakes.
Eroğlu said it is currently a tough game to find open spots in the picnic areas of Uzungöl, where an urban transformation project might begin, with the rising number of tourists from Gulf states visiting Turkey.
Uzungöl, a long-time Anatolian gem, has been flocked by Arab tourists especially in the summer lately - with hotels and motels around the lake working at full capacity.
“In the first five months of 2017, 102,155 domestic and 15,904 foreign tourists visited Uzungöl,” Suat Hacısalihoğlu, chairman of the Trabzon Chamber of Commerce, had previously said.
“Additionally, 22,829 tourists from Gulf countries flocked to the region. Given the pre-bookings, we estimate that this summer Uzungöl hotels will work at full capacity. In January, 1,511 Arab tourists came to the region. The number of Arab tourists in the region was 1,140 in February, 2,559 in March, 3,562 in April and 14,057 in May. The interest of Arab tourists in Uzungöl excites us,” he told state-run Anadolu Agency in July.
The tourist boom has attracted investors who have opened hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops in the village and helped the transportation infrastructure to improve.
Hacısalihoğlu said they want to prolong tourist stays by introducing new tourist activities in the region. The main aim is to contribute to the local economy by having tourists stay longer than usual.