Fethiye is now recovering from its three busiest days of the year as Turkish tourists, happy to be celebrating the national holiday following the month’s fasting known as Ramazan, flooded in the town and surrounding resorts.
The town’s tourism sector, local restaurants and shopkeepers and also counting the financial benefits.
Full to Bursting
With temperatures in the mid thirties but with humidity making it feel a lot hotter and sea temperatures of 29 degrees, Fethiye and Oludeniz became full to bursting with Turkish tourists, as they headed in their thousands to the popular resort for the three-day holiday following the end of Ramadam Bayram.
Many wanting to cool off decided to paraglide from the summit of Babadag, the region’s famous 2,000 metre mountain.
By sunset most of the restaurants along the Fethiye coastal stretch had resorted to taking table reservations and as a result, latecomers were sometimes turned away hungry and disappointed.
As a result of the influx of domestic tourists the car parks, streets, anywhere that there was a space became full with Jandarma and Traffic Police having to control the long tailbacks on all the main roads.
The journey from Fethiye to Oludeniz that normally takes 20 minutes became a nose-to-tail crawl of more than an hour and car parks in the main beach areas were soon full, resulting in double-parking in every available lane and side road.
Unfortunately there was some sad news too.
On the first day of the holiday (Monday) 18 people were killed and 380 were injured in road traffic accidents within Turkey.
The 2nd day, Tuesday July 29, saw 23 people killed in accidents and 75 injured.
Statistics for the third and last day of the vacation on Wednesday, July 30th reveal that 21 people were killed and 82 injured.
To get an better idea of exactly how busy the beach at Oludeniz was, Fethiye Times have permission to use some amazing photos taken by paraglider, Murat Tuzer of Sky Sports.
Salih Tasci president of TURSAB, Fethiye’s main tourism NGO said that this summer has presented some particular problems for the tourism sector.
“This year we have had some issues that have resulted in a very fragmented holiday season for the domestic market. To begin with we had school students taking their exams, then university exams, quickly followed by Ramazan. We now have the Presidential elections and this means that many thousands of public servants like government officials; the police and teachers have had their leave cancelled owing to their responsibilities during the elections. Once the election has taken place there will only be a limited opportunity for them to take their holidays before schools reopen at the beginning of September.”
He also pointed out that next year there is the general election in September 2015 and this may also impact on the industry.
This summer has already seen daily boat trips and tours suffering from the lower numbers as a result of Ramazan, the World Cup and more recently, the Commonwealth Games coinciding with a prolonged period of hot weather, particularly in the UK.
With occupancy already down by 20% following last week’s national holiday, when all hotels in Oludeniz, Hisaronu and Ovacik were said to be full, it seems that this year is already proving difficult for the Turkish domestic tourism market and next year is unlikely to be much better.