Antalya, which hosts more than 12 million tourists every year with its well-known sea, sun and sand, also offers opportunities to those who want to have an alternative holiday.
Antalya’s Olimpos area was discovered 30 years ago by people backpacking around the world and has become very popular for alternative holiday seekers. With its magnificent natural beauties, Olimpos offers holiday for people of all income levels.
Olimpos is located within the borders of the National Park and concrete is not allowed. Tourists can have their holiday in wooden houses built in trees. Nearly 50 facilities have a capacity of some 3,000 beds in Olimpos. Holiday goers have chance to do alternative sports, such as rock climbing, jogging, bicycling, canoing, deep water solo diving and more. Sportsmen and young tourists especially have a good time thanks to the facilities’ organizations.
Unlike the other holiday centres, tourists walk through the remains of the ancient city to go to the beach. The Olimpos Beach is reached by walking through the 2,200-year-old ancient city.
Kadir’in Agac Evleri (Kadir’s Tree Houses), which was the first touristic facility opened in Olimpos and is shown as an extraordinary hostel, draws more than 50,000 tourists to the region from some 80 countries.
Response to demolition
Kadir Kaya, stating that he ended his professional life as a teacher in Ankara and came to Olimpos 30 years ago, said he decided to build tree houses as a response to all the demolition of trees being cut on the coasts. He said the trees on the coast were killed and luxurious hotels.
“The trees on the coast were cut and hotels were built instead, so I decided to build the tree houses. They burned them in 2007 and we rebuilt them. I did it to show tourism is possible without cutting down trees. The coastline is filled with hotels, but the backyard was neglected. The real truth is the life in the backyard. If you love nature, it embraces you. Nature is entrusted to us. If we don’t take care of it, we cannot leave anything for future generations. It is easy to destroy nature, but it is hard to protect it. Ecological balance is necessary. Everyone has rights in this sea, mountains, air and forest. When I first came here, streams used to overflow, transportation was used as an excuse to cut the trees. [In the past,] I carried the goods I got from villagers on my shoulders, like bread, tomatoes and cucumbers. We used to prepare our food with caravan tourists and eat it. The number of our guests did not exceed 40. Today, I host approximately 250 tourists a day.”
Kaya said people who travel with their caravan and set up their tents spend too much money, but the ones staying in a hotel spent their money for the hotel only, adding alternative tourism should be developed for local artisans to earn money.
Kaya said he did not promote his business to be known in international area, but the name was heard through the grapevine, adding, “I don’t see people as a source of money. Even if they don’t have money, they stay here. I work for people here to be healthy and leave this place happy. I have not earned too much money.”
Today, Kaya hosts tourists from nearly 80 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, German, Peru and Canada. “They see us on the Internet and come here. We have become famous by word of mouth,” he said.
He said the region has 350 routes for climbing, drawing more than 50,000 tourists, adding they had made an investment of 100,000 euros for the routes. “More than 10 million people in Europe are interested in climbing sports. Even if we only bring 20 percent of these people, it is more than 2 million people. Nature sports have great potential” he said, adding they would organize an international event for climbing in October, and the world’s 50 best known mountaineers, as well as more than 3,000 sportsmen would come to Olimpos.