Marmaris has had enough of hasslers and is taking action!

The Mugla Governor, Marmaris Kaymakam and Marmaris Mayor give their support to an action-group of Marmaris hoteliers, tour operators and agents who pledge to stamp out the scourge of ‘hassling’ once and for all!

In Marmaris the problems of tourists being ‘hassled’ by salesmen outside bars, restaurants, shops and boats has come to a head with 117 representatives from hotels, tour operators and agents forming an action group under the heading of ‘Vizyon Marmaris’.

Dozens of ‘No Hassling’ banners have been strung across the main streets and hundreds of leaflets and posters have distributed in the town’s shopping areas. The no-hassling signs in Russian, English, German, Dutch and Turkish ask tourists to report unwelcome attention from ‘hasslers’.

Speaking at the first publicity meeting of the anti-hassling action group ‘Vizyon Marmaris’ speaker Halil Firatli remarked that due to unplanned growth during the 80s, Marmaris quickly became a front door for quick profitability.  Firatli went on to say that the town has lost much of its appeal due to poor planning controls and now, as if that isn’t enough,  the constant ‘hassling’ of tourists has brought Marmaris right to the cliff edge in tourism.

Halil Firatli continued his speech explaining that unless something is done about the hassling problem it could well mark the end of successful tourism with many business going broke. Firatli said that the action group came together with the aim to work jointly on a project for continuous tourism and to make a 5 year plan – ‘’we have the full support of the Mugla Governor, Marmaris Governor and

Marmaris Mayor, the anti hassling campaign is our first project and we will make demonstrations and campaign to stop the problem once and for all for the good of Marmaris’’ said Halil Bey. 

Explaining that the action group had been formed about two months ago with 77 members, which has now grown to 117 members, Firtali said that the members professions either bring tourists into the country or host them.’’We are not working against TURSAB or GETOB, we support their good works but we are local, on the ground and are for the livelihood of Marmaris.  We are doing nothing secret or underhand, we are open to everyone’s ideas for the good of Marmaris, we cannot let it go on like this any more’’ said Firatli.
 
Firatli went on to say ‘’We’d like to create a ‘green flag’ system for restaurants, shops and bars that meet standards on hygiene, trained staff, food quality and safety and recommend our guests to only use the establishments that meet these standards; then eventually only the quality ones will remain which will bring standards and quality back up again. We are setting up our website where anybody can goa nd complain if they feel they’ve been hassled and the data will be compiled and given to the relevant authorities for action, tourists are sick of being asked at every shop window what their name is and to come and drink tea then dragged in the shop almost physically – this is not Turkish hospitality and we don’t want people to go home with the wrong idea’’

The General Manager of the Yazici Hotel group, Ilhan Acikgoz, called upon the people of Marmaris to support the campaign against hassling which he described as behaviour that went against Turkish hospitality.

{mosimage}Following the publicity meeting the action group members staged a protest in the centre of Marmaris. Leaflets were handed out to tourists around the Ataturk statue explaining where they can complain if they feel they’ve been hassled. 

The ‘no-hassling’ campaign has quickly gathered momentum and at a subsequent meeting 48 hours after the first protest the Marmaris Governor addressed a crowd of several hundred business owners and officials at Mares Hotel and together with the Marmaris Governor and Marmaris Mayor made it clear that the authorities will no longer tolerate ‘hassling’ which they agreed has now reached epidemic proportions in the resort areas. Pledging support for the campaign and making the point that hassling needs to be stopped at grass-roots level by the people responsible for employing the ‘hasslers’ the Governor said that the he will be taking steps to empower the Police and Zabita (Council Police) to impose fines and implement much stricter rules concerning hassling including ‘closure-fines’ of up to one month for hassling offenders.

Your opinion about hassling plus any hassling complaints can be registered on the action groups website at www.visionmarmaris.com

So what defines ‘hassling’?

Unfortunately many of the ‘professional’ hasslers see nothing wrong in greeting passers-by and offering their services or products but tourists are quick to point out that even saying ‘Hello’ is an unwanted and un-needed inturruption to an otherwise pleasant stroll or window shopping trip. As one tourist stated ”After you’ve said hello thirty times in 20 minutes and been asked where you come from fifty times an hour it all gets a bit too much”. After being hassled constantly on their first excursion into the shopping or restaurant areas of the resort many tourists prefer to stay within the confines of their hotel for the remainder of their holiday. The hassling problem has now reached epidemic proportions in and around Marmaris and many tourists vow never to return to the resort and won’t recommend their friends or relatives to visit simply because of the constant badgering from the ‘hasslers’.

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