Turkey in huge tourism decline

As the travel industry enters the traditional “lates” market there are signs that this late summer sales period is going to be very challenging. With poor weather in the UK and with only two weeks before the school holidays start there will be families who will be left disappointed with the few holidays that are available and the expensive prices.

Tour operators will be trying hard to sell off unsold stock although the majority of these holidays will be to unpopular holiday destinations such as Turkey. Turkey has suffered a huge decline in visitor numbers due to terrorism, although the once popular Mediterranean resorts such as Bodrum, Marmaris and Antalya have so far been unaffected by any acts of terrorism.

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Turkey holidays suffer huge decline

Visitors to Turkey have dropped by 34.7% year on year to May 2016 to a total of 2.48 million. Visitors from Russia dropped 92% due to tensions between the two countries.  In July 2015 visitors to Turkey reached an all-time high of 5.48 million. Tourism accounts for over 6% of Turkey’s economic output and 8 percent of employment so the effect on the Turkish economy will be significant. There is already a crisis with employment as hundreds of hotels on Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts have had to scrap plans to hire seasonal workers. The slump in UK visitors to Turkey has also caused the collapse of several well respected tour operators. Jewel in the Crown ceased trading on 1 April 2016 after trading for 29 years and Anatolian Sky Holidays became the fourth Turkey specialist to fail in the last 12 months after the terrorist attacks. The other two tour operators to collapse were Elixir Holidays and Exclusive Escapes.

Holidays in Turkey have always been seen as value for money and tour operators will be hoping that big discounts will help sell the destination despite the risk of more terror attacks. Terrorism has far reaching consequences not just on those innocent lives that are so cruelly cut short but on a countries whole economy.

For many years it used to be the case that if you left it late to book a holiday, you would get a bargain. Ten years ago this might have been true, as I remember package holidays being on sale for £99 per person. These days are long gone as tour operators manage their holiday stock better and the shift in the market to the western Mediterranean causes demand to outstrip supply.

If the prospect of a soggy holiday in the UK fills you with dread, then be prepared to get your credit card out to pay for an expensive Mediterranean beach holiday.

Turkey: Intrigue and mystery

Whilst the Mediterranean resorts of Bodrum and Alanya might be the most popular holiday destinations for many tourists if you want to see real Turkish culture you shouldn’t miss the city of Istanbul.

Istanbul,Turkey, the erstwhile head of the Ottoman Empire, is a sprawling settlement that straddles both rivers and continents.

The minarets and domes offer the Eurocentric traveller an alternative Arabian Nights-themed romance, evoking a hard-won Islamic history from the days of Byzantium and Constantinople.

Although today Istanbul is cited as the happy portal between Europe and Asia, political correctness chooses to ignore history’s Titanic civilisation clash that still resonates in conflicts today.

Istanbul’s streets are witness to the most violent collision between the Occidental and Oriental worlds yet. Crusaders and janissaries once faced each other upon Istanbul’s streets and squares buoyed by religious fervour and a converters’ zeal.

The finest architecture often arises out of conflict, which is a piece of luck for sightseers in Istanbul. The sultan’s harem and Grand Bazaar are testament to a singular Islamic vision, whereas Istanbul has been tinged by European intervention in its rich arts culture – opera, music and cinema.

 

 

The Bosphorus river is Old Istanbul’s main artery, a true city centre that seems to centrifugally attract tourists, hawkers and joyous mayhem. The area around the river is a glorious confusion of hustle and bustle, ships and ferries, markets and persistent tradesmen.

Many of the main sights are situated in the Old City, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, the Atmeydani Hippodrome and the old city walls.

The intimidating Taksim Square, in the Asian part of the city offers a commercial alternative to the ancient attractions.

The Beyoglu and Harbiye districts offer plenty of backpacker accommodation, meyhanes (taverns) and popular cafes.

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Istanbul: the crossroads of Europe and Asia

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Istanbul: the crossroads of Europe and Asia

Turkey is well known by UK holidaymakers for its beach resorts such as Marmaris, Bodrum, Icemeler and Antalya but a visit to Turkey’s Istanbul is a cultural delight.

Istanbul, originally known as Byzantium, was re-named as Constantinople, in honour of its new Roman emperor Constantine, in 300 AD. The city fell to the Ottoman army in 1453, when it became known as Istanbul.

Turkey was finally able to celebrate its independence in 1923, after the War of Independence, and Istanbul flourished as a tourist centre from the 1980s onwards, and is now widely regarded as the heart of the east Mediterranean. 

Istanbul is built on the magical Bosphorus, a strait that leads from the Sea of Mamara to the Black Sea, with European Istanbul to the west, and Asian Istanbul to the east.

The Bosphorus is some 35km long, spanned by two impressive bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge and Sultan Mehmet Bridge. It is possible to take short boat trips along the strait, and it is a marvel to see the difference between villages on opposing sides of the water.

Istanbul possesses some excellent tourist attractions, none more so than the Topkapi Palace, with an impressive collection of treasure, china, jewellery, and also the subject of a famous 1964 film. Be sure to explore the Imperial Treasury, the Sacred Safekeeping Rooms, Baghdad Kiosk, the Tower of Justice and the Harem.

The Aye Sofia is a museum that has also had a colourful past. It was once regarded as the greatest church in Christendom until the Ottoman Empire took over, converting it into a mosque. The interior boasts a stunning amount of mosaics that is quite breathtaking. The Aye Sofia was only declared a museum in 1935.

Meanwhile, the Blue Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the city, a classic example of Ottoman design, and an incredible visual experience, both inside and out.

All your shopping needs are catered for at the Grand Bazaar, in what will surely be one of the most insane shopping experiences of your lifetime. The bazaar is an enormous, covered labyrinth of markets, selling anything and everything. Great bargains can be found on leather goods, local crafts, ceramics and antiques. There is also a superb spice market nearby.

Other highlights of the city include Rumelihisar, which are old rampart ruins on the bank of the Bosphorus, which in the summer stages superb open air concerts and theatre performances. At the entrance to the Bosphorus can be found Ortakoy, a quaint village specialising in open air restaurants and market stalls.

In terms of getting out and about in Istanbul, it is well worth having a ride in a ‘dolmus’, an intriguing cross between a taxi and a bus. Essentially, they are taxis, but they take pre-determined routes, and passengers may get in and out at any stage along the way, sharing with whoever is in them at the time.

To get away from the hustle and bustle of the main island, it is possible to take a ferry out to the Prince Islands, a collection of four islands. Here, no cars are allowed and horse and carts are the only way to get around, which makes for a delightful tranquil stay. 

Indeed, it is popular for many of the wealthier Istanbul residents to own property on these islands, and to live there during the summer, commuting to the mainland for work.

Elsewhere in Turkey, the towns of Kalkan, Kas and Bodrum are becoming increasingly glamorous holiday destinations in the south. Bodrum in particular, often referred to as the St. Tropez of Turkey, has attracted many foreigners to buy property there and display their expensive yachts.

Surreal landscapes and fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey, Cappadocia is known primarily for its rock. It is impossible to visit the region without coming face to face with some sort of rock formation, whether the eye-catching phenomena known as fairy chimneys, the houses and churches carved out of the rock face or the underground cities hewn into the ground.

Just three and a half hours’ drive south of Ankara or an hour’s flight from Istanbul, Cappadocia is a unique region, created by eruptions of Mt Erciyes and Mt Hasan around 60 million years ago. The soft rock was
subsequently eroded by rain and wind over thousands of years, creating a fascinating landscape of valleys and fairy chimneys. These bizarre rock formations consist of a cap of hard rock perched atop a cone-shaped column of softer rock, some of which rise over 100 feet into the air.

For the best views of Cappadocia, go to Uchisar. Situated at the highest point in the region, some 1,300 metres high, the peaceful town offers panoramic views over the surrounding landscape. The fairy chimneys rising up to the north, east and west of Uchisar were once used as
graves. Tombs were cut inside the rock and bodies were laid out on stone slabs inside. It is definitely worth spending a couple of nights in the town and a range of cheap hotels are available for those wishing to delay their onward travel for a day or two.

Dozens of underground cities abound in Cappadocia. The most elaborate are found at Kaymakli and Derinkuyu. Carved deep into the volcanic stone, some of the cave cities were excavated as early as 1500 to 1300 BC, during the Hittite Empire. Many were painted between the 8th and 12th centuries, using colours made from local rocks and herbs which still appear vivid today.

Rather than providing permanent abodes, the caves were used for hiding from attacking armies, although they were designed so that people could stay underground for months if necessary. Deep wells and tall chimneys provided essential water and ventilation and the larger cave systems had their own livestock enclosures and wine presses. Some even had churches which were hewn out of the rock.

The original tourist magnet in the area is widely regarded to be Urgup and, with its excellent hotels and inns, it attracts a wide range of travellers. The town is well-known for its cave houses, many of which are surprisingly large, as extra rooms are often excavated in the rock when necessary.

Although Urgup is still extremely popular, nearby Goreme has become the undisputed favourite among budget travellers. The town has a multitude of cheap hotels and pensions and, with its own supply of cave houses and fairy chimneys, has become something of a backpacker’s base.

The area is also home to the Goreme Open-Air Museum – the most famous site in the whole of Cappadocia. Just one mile from Goreme itself, the area boasts the best cave churches in the region, complete with beautifully painted Byzantine frescoes. Particularly worth seeing is the Karanlik Kilise, otherwise known as the Dark Church. The 11th century dome and walls are covered with painted Bible scenes which have only recently been restored.

Both the Goreme National Park and the rock sites of Cappadocia were added to Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1985, proving that a trip to the region is likely to be the highlight of any holiday. A range of activities are available, including walking, mountain biking and horse
riding through the valleys.

Many people only come to Cappadocia for a couple of days but it is certainly worth spending longer in the region. Accommodation, food and the locally-produced wine are all cheap and it is therefore possible to spend a few days enjoying the sights on a relatively tight budget. The one extravagance that is certainly recommended, however, is a balloon trip from which the picturesque landscape and rock formations can be truly appreciated.

Buses travel to Cappadocia from most of Turkey’s main cities, including an overnight service from Istanbul, and the taxi and minibus (dolmus) service within the region itself is excellent. Flights travel to the region’s airport at Kayseri and regular connections fly to and from Istanbul.

Many people travel to Turkey for its beaches or spectacular cities but around 850,000 foreign tourists make the short journey to Cappadocia each year, proving that the surreal landscape is definitely worth a visit. One of the cheapest destinations in the Mediterranean, Turkey should definitely feature in your holiday plans and Cappadocia will give your holiday that little added extra.

Diary of a holiday to Icmelar, Turkey

One of our regular customers has just returned from a holiday to Icmelar in Turkey and she has very kindly sent us a diary of her holiday for us to publish on our travel blog. They spent 16 days at the Marmaris Palace Hotel as part of an all inclusive holiday package.

The two ladies seem to have had a great time and you can read about their holiday exploits ranging from where the best places to eat are to their experiences of a traditional Turkish Baths.

Read more …. click the link below

Continue reading “Diary of a holiday to Icmelar, Turkey”

Cosmetic Dental Treatment in Turkey

It was 2 years ago when I was on holiday in Kerala that I discovered that if you wanted cosmetic dental surgery it was better and cheaper to go abroad. India has some of the best trained doctors and dentists in the world and the Leela Kempinsky hotel in Kovalam that I was staying at had quite a few people staying there that were there not just for a holiday but also there to take advantage of the cheaper dental treatment.Since then, I have discovered that you don’t need to travel as far as Kerala in India to take advantage of much cheaper dental treatment.

Turkey has also become a popular destination for dental treatment. It makes sense really to take advantage of good weather and to take a holiday at the same time as having your treatments.One such company that offers cheaper dental treatment in Turkey is “New Look Smile”. Based in the lovely Turkish beach resort of Altinkum they claim to have treated 10,000 UK patients in the last 4 years, and saved their customers a fortune !I contacted New Look Smile for more information about their dental treatments and I was told by their UK representative that all their dentists are highly trained and speak fluent English.

Looking at their website certainly shows that the facilities at their clinic in Altinkum are top quality.I checked out the prices of dental treatment on the New Look Smile website and their price comparisons of similar dental treatments carried out in the UK looks very impressive. For example, they claim that 6 veneers and whitening in the UK will cost £4,350 whilst the same treatment in Turkey will cost £820. At these prices you can see that it is certainly worthwhile travelling on holiday to Turkey to get dental treatment carried out.

A holiday in Altinkum, Turkey costs anywhere from £300 to £600 per person depending on the time of year you travel and the standard of your accommodation so it makes complete sense to travel to Turkey to have dental treatment carried out.Like most people I have always wanted a perfect smile. Maybe for the next stage of my investigation into dental treatment in Turkey I should try out some of their treatments !

For more information about cosmetic dental treatment in Turkey contact New Look Smile in the UK on 0208 123 31 24

For a holiday in Altinkum contact Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450

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Gulet cruising in Turkey – A holiday with a difference

Holidays to Turkey Gain in Popularity

Gulet Cruising – A Holiday with a Difference.

Cruising aboard a traditional Turkish wooden gulet is a unique experience.

Most gulet cruises start from Bodrum in Turkey and you then spend a week cruising the magnificent Turkish coastline. The gulet cruise is a holiday of relaxation as you sail into hidden coves and deserted bays. There are many ports of call and you will visit small offshore islands, busy harbours, sleepy villages and deserted coves where you can swim in calm water with a back drop of stunning scenery.

Global Holidays offers a large choice of gulet cruise off the Turkish coast. Call us for a quote on 0845 299 4450.

Gulets are traditional wooden sailing ships offering a choice of onboard accommodation – from super luxury sailing yachts available for your exclusive private charter to great value cabin charters. Our cruises sail for just a few hours each morning and arrive at a new place every day – so you have more time to see the many sights, enjoy remote beach’s and warm turquoise seas. The and experienced crew (Captain, chef, steward, deckhand) provide their guests on our gulet chartering, with a very attentive and personalized service, and serving good quality Mediterranean style meals.

The Cruises

At Global Holidays we have many gulet cruises that we can offer you. Our Bodrum based Carian Cruise ventures into the Gulf of Gokova with its many enchanting anchorages and forgotten communities.The Marmaris-based Lycian Cruise explores the many isolated coves of Fethiye Bay, and offers optional extra trips to the Dalyan Mud Baths or the famous beach of Olu Deniz.Whichever cruise you choose, you will enjoy the companionship of your fellow guests, swimming in turquoise waters, sunbathing and trying various water sports on the way. You may even get a school of dolphins keeping the gulet company. Either cruise is as relaxing or energetic as you choose to make it.

The Gulets

Your home for the week is a traditional Turkish wooden yacht or ‘gulet’, powered by either strong winds or an inboard engine. Each gulet boasts 6 to 10 wood-panelled cabins with either a double bed or a bunk bed arrangement. You need not worry about sharing facilities as each cabin comes with its own bathroom comprising a WC, washbasin and shower.The front deck or ‘bow’ of each of our gulets are fitted with comfy sunbeds for the ultimate in sunbathing.

The stern houses a canopied deck for relaxing in the shade, while the mid-section of the vessel has an indoor lounge and bar area. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in a comfortable cushioned dining area at the stern. Meals are prepared onboard using fresh ingredients cooked by the crew and they will often barbecue fish caught on the cruise!Your captain of the ‘gulet’ will be a master sailor, certified by the Ministry of Turkish Maritime Operations. He is likely to be a salty old sea-dog, but is usually also an outstanding host to his guests. He will do everything in his power to ensure your cruise runs as smoothly as possible.

Food onboard a gulet cruise

All the cruises are sold on a full board basis which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, even when this is not mentioned in the itineraries. Drinks are not included, but there’s a well stocked bar on board and you can settle your bar tab before you disembark at the end of the week. If you are booking the whole boat you can upgrade to All Inclusive, which includes all your drinks.

Take a look at the video below for a feel on what it’s like on a Turkish gulet cruise or call Global Holidays for great prices and choices on a gulet cruise.

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Holiday Prices to Turkey Rise By 44%

New research about the cost of taking a holiday to Turkey has shown that holidays to the country may not be as cheap as you had hoped.

Following on from our recent blog article “Holidays to Turkey may not be as cheap as you think” new findings published by the Post Office have shown that Turkey could be becoming the most expensive in europe rather than the cheapest.

The annual Holiday Money Report claims holidaymakers to Turkey face a 44% hike in the price of meals, drinks and other holiday items in 2010.

Shopping Basket Prices Comparison

Bulgaria £39.12

Spain £44.84

Egypt £60.76

Croatia £62.44

Greece £63.42

Portugal £64.21

Malta £64.95

Cyprus £72.42

Turkey £75.21

Source: Post Office. Prices are for a “basket” of eight tourist items and based on exchange rates in January 2010.

Turkey Prices

Cup of coffee £2.24

Heineken £2.24

Coca Cola £2.24

Mineral Water £0.51

Suncream £5.59

Insect Repellent £1.79

Cigarettes £2.46

Three course meal for two, with wine £58.14

 

Holidays to Turkey Might not be as Cheap as you Think

Holidays to Turkey, like last summer, are in demand at the moment, as families looking for a cheap holiday abroad look for a holiday outside the Eurozone.However, taking a holiday to Turkey might not be as cheap as you might think !The average cost of a family holiday to Turkey has risen by nearly 50% as greedy hoteliers in Turkey take advantage of the weak Pound. The cost of goods in shops in the holiday resorts have also risen sharply.

As Spanish hotels drop their prices to attract customers the price difference between a holiday in Turkey and a holiday in Spain or Greece is much smaller than it was 2 years ago and in some cases it is actually more expensive.Whilst prices in Bodrum and Dalaman have increased by nearly 40% the price of a holiday to Majorca has risen by only 3%.We have been receiving reports from holidaymakers returning from Turkey that a bottle of beer at the airport can cost £5.As Turkey becomes more popular tour operators have expressed concern that the country could see an increase in overbooking and a lack of good quality accommodation.So, our advice is to speak to a good travel agent about the best holiday deals and don’t rule out a holiday to Spain or Greece or one of the other Eurozone countries.

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Focus on Fethiye in Turkey

Fethiye is an incredibly beautiful Turkish town on the Aegean coast, surrounded by hills and mountains. Most visitors stay in the area for its mixture of sun, sea and cultural activities.Although tourists arrive in good numbers, Fethiye still retains the feel of a working town, meaning you don’t get that horrible sense that everything is here for your benefit.

Those who find they wilt in the heat may wish to arrive away from summer period, when temperatures can reach 40C on occasion. Spring and autumn are far more agreeable and a little quieter as well.One of the main attractions of the town itself is the famous pre-Roman Lycian tombs which were carved out in the hills and cliffs above the town. The higher up the mountain, the more ornate the carvings on the tombs become, a sign that wealth allowed you to be buried closer to God.

There are also a number of small islands to explore nearby. There are a huge supply of boats offering excursions to the islands each day from Fethiye’s harbour, many providing short stops on the islands and the opportunity to see plenty of marine life. Food and drink is often also provided, making for a most enjoyable day’s sailing.

The nearby village of Kaya Koyu is also worth investigating, This village lies 20 minutes drive out of town and has been left empty since the Greeks were driven out in 1923 after the end of the Greco-Turkish war. An unnerving but thoroughly interesting place.Those who have brought their hiking boots must visit the Saklikent Gorge, which is a superb geological site on the Tekke Peninsula, to be found between Fethiye and Antalya.

The higher you go up the gorge the wetter and more precipitous it becomes. Remember that getting back down can be more of a challenge than going up.If after all that hiking you fancy a spell on the beach, take a water taxi ride to Callis from Fethiye harbour. Although it’s a shingle beach the sea is gorgeous and the refreshing breezes make a wonderful change from the Turkish heat.There are a good range of restaurants in the town catering to most tastes but one of the best must surely be the Yacht Restaurant, with its gorgeous views over the marina and wonderful north African food.The city has some good nightlife too, with many of the bars and clubs retaining a strong Turkish feel, although there are a few that pander to tourist tastes.

Those flying in to the region will find a number of international flights available to nearby Dalaman or Antayla.

Please call Global Holidays for flights to Turkey. Call Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450 for a cheap holiday to Turkey

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Holidays to Turkey gain in popularity