Turkey eyes bicycle tourism alternative amid diversity efforts
Turkey may get a share of the bicycle tourism pie worth tens of billions of euros in a few years if the necessary infrastructure is provided, a senior expert has said, as concrete steps are being taken to diversify tourism.
Recep Şamil Yaşacan, the chairperson of the Union of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Sports Specialization and Cycling Tourism Association, said that there is a potential of 52 billion euros for bicycle tourism in Europe, adding that Turkey may take a large share of Europe within five or six years.
Recalling that branches such as football, basketball and volleyball come to mind when sports tourism was mentioned in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, one of the most visited resort towns in Turkey, Yaşacan said that cycling teams have also started camping in the province in the last three years.
Expressing that visiting cycling teams participate in tournaments and races in the province, Yaşacan said: “These teams would camp here for a couple of months and return to their countries. Cycling tourism has the same potential as golf tourism, and it has an annual turnover of 52 billion euros in Europe.”
Noting that in addition to the cycling teams, there are also tourists who come for cycling tourism, such as golf tourists, the expert defined this visitor profile as “30 to 40-year-olds, those who have a hobby and who like cycling.”
Stressing that the bicycle routes of the region are important, the tourism professional noted that when Antalya becomes a bicycle-friendly city, the roads will be adjusted according to this approach.
Reminding that Yaşacan bicycles have as many rights as vehicles in traffic, Yaşacan stated that success would be achieved in bringing bicycle tourism customers to the Antalya region if this awareness was reached.
Stating that nearly 15 hotels have now received the bicycle-friendly hotel certificate, he noted that the efforts continue for the arrival of the first groups.
“We are ready, we are ready as hotels, region and the union. Our goal is to reach customer potential. Everything is ready, retouching will be done,” he said, adding that there is no need for new investments.
Turkey will roll out a series of financial support mechanisms to encourage the use of bicycles as an environment-friendly alternative.
The new mechanisms to be implemented were included in the recently-released Presidential Annual Program for 2022, which aims to provide legal and financial support to bicycle path projects of 1,000 kilometers in length.