Last weekend a group of local foreign nationals met with the management of Dalaman Airport. At the top of the agenda was how to counter the decline in tourism and prolong the tourism season. David Groom, a long-term Fethiye resident, was one of those who received an invitation. This is his report.
“Last Saturday morning, the General Manager and member of the board of Dalaman Airport, Mr. Hamdi Güvenç, and his Executive Assistant, Mr. Rustamjon Akhmadzoda, called a meeting. Its purpose was to discuss ways of countering the decline in tourism and prolonging the tourist season.
I was one of the people who were invited to attend.
Their main concern was to seek comment and advice aimed at encouraging international airlines to continue to fly to Dalaman all year round rather than just during the main holiday season.
Hamdi Güvenç invited people of various nationalities to this meeting, which took place in Dalyan. He informed us that measures are being discussed at an official level, including a subsidy for each flight, and said that EasyJet, Monarch and Thomas Cook in particular were showing interest.
So much to see and do
We, from the ex-pat community, suggested that the beach holiday image of Turkey is well known but Turkey has far more to offer the tourist than just sun and sand.
We suggested that a comprehensive list was made of events which might attract niche groups, particularly out of season.
Cycling holidays were discussed, and how cycling is already a growing activity; there are many walking groups which are well organised, and skiing, golf, paragliding (last week I saw that they are still paragliding from Babadağ), sailing and boating activities in general were mentioned.
All year round
There are regions of Turkey that are famous for pottery, leather, wine, carpets, spa retreats and treatment … These, and many more could be marketed as reasons to come to Turkey outside the traditional holiday season.
Religious tourism could be encouraged too. St. Paul, the writer of the majority of the New Testament letters, was ‘Turkish’; coming from Tarsus and some of the earliest Christian communities were here, for example in Ephesus.
It’s really important that the historical and cultural treasures of Turkey is not overlooked and the range that exists here, from pre-history to recent is absolutely outstanding and remarkable.
We were taken to a hilltop looking down over the extraordinary mud flats of Dalyan and treated to a BBQ, which served to emphasise the genuine desire to seek advice and comment.
Of course the political situation and terrorism threat that overshadows Turkey, and many other areas of the world, were discussed along with the perception of Turkey, which certain media outlets choose to promote.
Made said that this is a major problem, perhaps the major problem. If anyone has any constructive comments or advice to offer then I am convinced that they will be welcomed and acted upon, if possible, by the airport.
Do bear in mind that this meeting was at the instigation of the airport, so please only offer comments which may be within their area of influence.
If you have any constructive and helpful ideas to offer, please contact the assistant to the general manager, Rustapjon Akhmadzoda at firstname.lastname@example.org
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