The nine-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is expected to enliven Turkey’s economy, with tourism players anticipating approximately 5 million people to travel during this period, creating a financial turnover of 10 billion Turkish Liras ($1.6 billion).
Of the 5 million people, the majority are expected to travel to their hometowns to spend the holiday with their families, while 300,000-400,000 will flock to coastal cities or sightseeing sites, said Osman Ayik, the head of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED).
The holiday was planned to officially start on June 4 and end on June 6. But Turkish authorities have signed a circular declaring that June 3 (a Monday) and June 7 (a Friday) would also be holidays, effectively creating a nine-day public holiday, including the two weekends.
“The financial turnover that will be created by tourists who will accommodate at hotels might reach 1 billion liras. But the whole [financial] contribution of the Eid al-Fitr holiday to the economy can be indicated to be as 10 billion liras or above,” said Ayik.
Ayik said that although beach touristic spots in the Aegean and Mediterranean provinces are among the most popular choices of local tourists due to the Eid al-Fitr coinciding with summer this year, many hotels near sighting seeing sites have been similarly booked.
There is a 1.5-million licensed bed capacity in hotels across Turkey, said Ayık, adding that 30 percent of this capacity is expected to be filled by local tourists during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
The occupancy rates of many hotels in the popular beach touristic provinces such as Antalya, Izmir and Mugla have already hit 100 percent.
The head of the Union of Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB), Erkan Yagci, said that the announcement of the extension of the Eid al-Fitr holiday to nine days about two months prior to the holiday came in handy for customers wanting to buy cheap vacations.
“This really has provided an opportunity for vacationers. It has made it easier for them to make vacation plans and to choose the region [where they want to spend the vacation] and hotel. And we have also seen the benefit of this as the [tourism] sector,” said Yagci.
Sector players have also drawn attention to the excessive prices that many restaurants and cafes try to charge tourists during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
“Especially local tourists complain about this issue. Restaurants sometimes want to charge the customers with an unjust ‘music money.’ Also it has been observed that the prices of foods and drinks go up by 100 percent [during just the Eid al-Fitr holiday]. In these situations, the customers need to file complaints. They should never pay extra prices that are demanded in such places,” said sector players.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News