Turkey becomes tourist attraction for Egyptians
CAIRO - Anadolu Agency
Despite political tension between Cairo and Ankara since the military coup against democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt in 2013, holidaymakers from Egypt are increasingly favoring Turkey to visit their vacation.
Around 101,000 Egyptian tourists visited Turkey in 2017, up from 94,000 in 2016, according to official Turkish estimates.
The rise comes despite restrictions imposed by Egyptian authorities on people aged between 18 and 40 years old, who are willing to visit Turkey.
George Bolis, a 47-year-old Egyptian, visited Turkey last year for an “amazing” vacation as he puts it.
He visited several tourist and archaeological sites such as the Bosphorus, Hagia Sophia and royal palaces during his visit. “Turkey has many amazing tourist sites in addition to convenient hotel and flight prices, excellent services and [people’s] civilized behavior,” he said.
Bolis said his week-long visit to Turkey had cost him 7,900 pounds ($442), including flight tickets and accommodation.
Hiba Halabi, an Egyptian academic, said she has fallen in love with Istanbul during her visit to the city.
“I loved the Bosphorus and taking a ferry,” she said. “Whenever you feel bored or get demoralized, just get on a ferry and change your mood,” she said. “After crossing to the other side of Istanbul, you feel like a new person.”
Many Egyptian and Arab visitors to Turkey speak highly of the Turkish cuisine. Ayatollah Gunes, an entrepreneur who started a dessert shop in Cairo, said many Egyptians visit his shop to taste Turkish desserts such as baklava.
“Baklava is the most favorite dessert for people here,” said Gunes, whose “Turkish Delight” shop is frequently visited by Egyptians in downtown Cairo. He said Turkish delight is also highly demanded by luxury hotels and dessert shops in touristic areas in Egypt.
Health tourism in Turkey is another attraction for Egyptian and Arab holiday-makers.
Hair transplantation, rhinoplasty, sleeve gastrectomy and liposuction operations are performed in Turkey for reasonable prices, which is “two birds with one stone” for many Arab tourists.
Many Egyptian and Arab celebrities have recently hailed their holidays in Turkey.
Hamdi al-Margani, a rising Egyptian comedian and his wife, have recently shared details of their Turkey experience on social media, posting many photos of their visit to Istanbul. Lebanese singer and actor Nicole Saba and Youssef El Khal were also among celebrities who have chosen Turkey to spend their summer vacation.
According to Lebanese media, the two have chosen Bodrum in western Turkey to spend their holiday.