The chairman of the Çalış Tourism Association Mete Ay is hoping the British expat community can play a part in limiting the damage done to Fethiye’s reputation by algal blooms turning the sea in some areas pea green.
Parties from all sides of the political fence are aware of the issues and research is already underway into the cause.
Swedish scientists examining similar phenomena in the Baltic have been consulted while both the canals and waste water treatment works which discharge effluent into Fethiye Bay have been identified as potential sources of pollution which may have sparked the blooms.
But, speaking to Fethiye Times, Mete Ay said news reports both in the Fethiye area and further afield had a detrimental impact on visitor numbers over the Kurban Bayramı holiday earlier this month – exacerbated by misinformation suggesting a much wider area has been affected.
Boats and bays
“For example, if you go to Çalış Beach now, it’s fine,” he said. “The algal bloom may still be affecting Fethiye Bay between the harbour and Şövalye Island but no one swims there anyway. There is also not a problem on most of the beaches on the peninsula and the bays by the day boats are also fine.
“But, at the moment, the reports don’t make that clear. People are worried that the algal bloom is visible around the whole of the Fethiye area and we are worried that may be putting people off coming to visit.”
Mr Ay emphasised the association shares public concern over the issue and will continue to do what it can to influence decision-makers and to press for a speedy solution.
“There is a problem; of course there is – but, we hope everyone can help us in the meantime by being accurate and responsible with what they share on social media.
“There is a large British community in Çalış and they could play a really important part in making sure visitors understand the algal bloom is not as widespread as some seem to believe.”
Meanwhile, hoteliers from the Muğla district have formed an association of their own to fight bogus insurance claims made against them by holidaymakers on their return home to the UK.
There have been a number of incidents of false claims recently – one resulting in a British couple being fined £30,000 for concocting a story in a bid to win compensation.
They were foiled by a hotelier who travelled to the UK to defend his establishment against the claims in court.
Speaking to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, president of the South Aegean Hoteliers and Operators Association, Bülent Bülbüloğlu said, until now it had been too easy to make a fraudulent claim.
“A British tourist can file a complaint to the courts in Britain saying he or she had an upset stomach, didn’t like the food, suffered from food poisoning or was mentally depressed because of the problems at the hotel,” he said.
“Now, we can appear in the courtroom and defend ourselves. Big tour operators listen to us carefully and examine the evidence we show them,” he said.