Today’s first magic number: 200. Congratulations to the The Ege Eye and a big ‘thank you’ to our dear readers, advertisers, editors and publishers. The Ege Eye is not just a leading regional newspaper keeping us constantly up-to-date but a portable advice center, a handy summary of our local yellow pages by means of a huge variety of ads, an open forum for debate and simply a ‘must have’ – item.
The paper comments about, and introduces daily life in what is for sure the Ferrari of Turkey’s west coast – Kusadasi and its environs.
Hence the decision about which topic would be a perfect match for the occasion was a tough one as coming up with a subject for our celebratory edition could have gone at least two ways: either focusing on the past 199 issues reliving and retelling some of the most commented on stories which certainly changed the way we see our shared hometown, or alternatively, with the next 200 issues in mind trying to keep you our readers entertained and informed.
By the way and quickly calculating we shall prepare for Number 400 in sixteen and a half years from now but please no panic: long before that date many younger, finer, more aspiring and more inspiring writers will for sure have taken over from me and my regular page.
Verdict: the latter scenario, albeit with a twist: this time let me put a question to you instead of your friendly columnist providing (some – or in many cases probably none – of) the answers and so we are getting ready for today’s second magic number, 50:
How many millions of incoming international tourists can Turkey absorb in the short to medium term? How many visitors do you think allow for quality holidays and vacationing before we are rejected by our favorite watering hole as the queue is too long, nightclub style waiting on the red carpet? And what about our local tradesmen and tradeswomen – would they rather see ‘full house’ day in, day out or perhaps prefer a more eco-friendly, more time for each customer type of scenario? Imagine that in a year or two from now all ‘pandemic’ doom and gloom is long confined to the history books – would concepts such as Slow Cities or ‘Sustainable Tourism’ reign supreme or pose a threat to the industry?
Ultimately it will be no one else but you indeed who decide which way Kusadasi, Turkey goes as you will either happily return every year, perhaps relocate for good, or head elsewhere indeed.
Let us now put this issue into the wider context so that you have the perfect verbal ammunition for your reflections; involving just that little bit of extra number crunching.
In 2018, 39.5 million guests hit Turkish shores, further increasing to 45.1 million tourists the following year. 2020 and despite the global health situation 12.7 million visitors arrived underlining the country’s great reputation even in a crisis. COVID-19 not happening Turkey had anticipated to reaching the 50 million mark last year, a very realistic assumption expecting a ten per cent up when comparing 2020 with 2019. As we all know, things went differently…
These days a more somber estimate circulates in the capital Ankara and elsewhere hoping for 25 to 30 million guests returning to Turkey in 2021, before a full re-bound kicks-in the year after, 2022. Hence welcoming 50 million travelers is a very accurate picture with the only question remaining: when exactly? In case you enjoy a more detailed look at related data please consult
Now it is your turn – what would you consider being a logic, acceptable number to find a balance between ‘too busy’ and ‘almost empty’ for Turkey in general, and our southern Aegean coast in particular?
It is not uncommon for locations in our area to increase its (part-time) inhabitants ten-fold when looking at summer and then at off-peak. A decade ago this is exactly what had happened in Kusadasi reaching 500 000 summer guests, tourists, second home owners or people simply visiting friends and family. Interestingly today the districts population (data correct 2020) stands at just above 120 000 yet the number of summer guests more or less stands at a comparable half a million guests, of course not all at the same time but pretty much solid during July and August. So has our fine resort perhaps reached its maximum capacity already?
Assuming Turkey reaches the magic 50 million mark, and further assuming our southern Aegean shores with our town as its focal point would benefit from hosting another five percent thereof – this figure then amounts to 250 000 additional guests and visitors during the spring to late season months, all in all divided into four to five months; manageable, desirable?
A Ferrari evokes images of sheer luxury, pleasure, fun. Mass tourism is the exact opposite. Yet the wonderful thing about being here is that over time it managed to find a balance between too many visitors and too few. Its reputation is indeed that of the Ferrari, thoughts about luxury beaches and fabulous town centers. There is still this feeling of exclusivity surrounding Kusadasi and region; a rare combo indeed.
So here you go: what is your favorite number?
For the time being mine is ‘201’ – looking forward to our May issue and thank you for continued support!