Tourism boom expected in Turkey’s southeast this season
With the pandemic weakening, tourism professionals in Turkey's southeastern region are hopeful of witnessing a tourism boom this year, expecting an influx of both local and international tourists.
According to a feature story in daily Milliyet on April 21, the occupancy rate in region's hotels is around 90 percent as of April.
By the time of Eid al-Fitr holidays at the beginning of May, the rate is expected to reach 100 percent.
"It is nearly impossible to find empty rooms in hotels at weekends as of today," Kayahan Köse, one of the owners of travel agencies in the region, told the daily.
Locals mainly come from Istanbul, the capital Ankara and the western province of İzmir, he added.
There are two tour packages, short and long, in the region. The short travel package consists of two-day stay in province of Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Adıyaman, while the long tour offers a five-day stay with additional visits to the provinces of Mardin and Diyarbakır.
"We now see local tourists mostly. But after the end of the pandemic, we are expecting to see international tourists as well," said Soner Bacaksız, board member of Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
The Zeugma Museum in Gaziantep, the ancient site of Göbeklitepe in Şanlıurfa, Mount Nemrut in Adıyaman, the narrow streets of Mardin and the castle walls in Diyarbakır are some of the major tourist attractions.
According to official data, the number of visitors to the Zeugma Museum surpassed 125,000 in the first nine months of 2021 despite the pandemic.
"In 2019, a year before the pandemic started, there was an enormous demand for tourism in the region. This year, the numbers will pass the ones in 2019," Bacaksız added.