Turkey’s first submarine trips aim to revive tourism in Antalya
ANTALYA/ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
DHA photoAs Turkey seeks to support its tourism industry amid continued regional problems, one Antalya-based firm has hit upon a novel idea to keep people coming to the coast: A 48-seat submarine.
Guests from around the world could soon be speeding through the Mediterranean Sea at 130 feet below the waves in “Nemo,” a craft built in Finland and renovated in Spain.
The chairman of IHS Travel and Touristfly, the company behind the ambitious $4-million scheme, told Anadolu Agency that they “wanted to bring a new and different alternative to the sector and this project came to our minds.”
“I believe it will revive the tourism industry. We are very hopeful about the project,” said Yunus Emre Yavuzyiğit.
The guided underwater tours could start in April from the coastal city of Alanya.
The underwater adventures will continue throughout 11 months of the year and the company plans to enlarge the underwater tours over the coming years.
“We plan to buy more submarines to start tours in the Aegean and the Marmara Sea as well in 2017,” added Yavuzyiğit.
The project comes as Turkey witnesses a decline in the number of foreign visitors from Russia and Europe in 2015. According to data released by the Tourism Ministry last month, foreign tourist arrivals dropped by around 1.61 percent compared to the same period of 2014.
Antalya was one of Russian visitors’ most popular destinations until Turkey downed a Russian warplane on the Syria border on Nov. 24 last year.
After the subsequent diplomatic row, Russian tourist arrivals have dropped significantly. According to the ministry’s figures, the number of Russian tourists coming to Turkey fell by 47 percent in December 2015 compared to the same period of the last year.
Last month’s terror attack that killed 11 German tourists in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district has also prompted jitters in the industry.