The season is well underway - in fact, August is Turkey’s hottest month, when tourism reaches its sunburned peak - but there’s still time to holiday in Turkey in 2017. While some things remain constant, like the country’s fabulous beaches, amazing food and incredible opportunities to experience a history and culture like no other, this year offers a few extra reasons to visit Turkey.
1. It's cheaper to go than ever before
Although it’s not the best news for Turks, the lira - which has devalued by around 20 percent in the course of 12 months - is now so low that even a weak pound begets huge savings for Brits, and even more value for those travelling on currencies pegged to the dollar.
This means holidaymakers can shop till they drop, stuff themselves at the many excellent restaurants and take part in leisure activities at prices that haven’t been seen in Turkey in years. This won’t last: since the referendum (link), a raft of economic measures have been introduce and the lira is starting its gradual climb upwards. By next year, the currency will have levelled out and while holidaying in Turkey will still be great value, it won’t be as favourable for visitors from overseas.
It’s not just the low lira that will net tourists discounts. Tourism is one of Turkey’s largest industries, and the last two years have seen numbers drop as visitors holiday elsewhere. While tourists are starting to return to the country, numbers are still low. As a result of the lower demand for services, hoteliers, restaurateurs and pretty much everyone connected with the tourism industry are having to work extra hard to attract revenue. They’re doing this by lowering prices and offering incredible deals to entice tourists to spend their foreign currency.
Analysts predict that next year will mark a return to normalcy, and prices will once again rise. However, while it lasts the combination of a depreciated lira and discounted hotels mean holidaying in Turkey is extra cheap this year.
2. Resorts are quiet
Hate queueing for popular attractions? Dislike viewing landmarks with thousands of others? Favour a quiet bar over a packed pub? Then read on: thanks to the depleted tourist numbers, Turkey’s coastal resorts and the popular city of Istanbul are quieter. Beaches aren’t as crowded, the famously winding queue to see the Blue Mosque is shorter than usual, and even world heritage site Ephesus isn’t packed with tourists each day.
While this is not the best news for the locals who rely on tourism, it is for you. This will undoubtedly be the last couple of months to take advantage of the thinner crowds - tourist numbers are climbing once again and next year, if you’re not up at 5am you can expect queues at Turkey’s larger attractions to snake around the block once more.
3. There are more Blue Flag beaches than ever before
From ever-blue Oludeniz to Konyaalti, Antalya’s city beach, Turkey’s southern shoreline is packed with the Mediterranean’s most incredible stretches of sand. What’s more, they’re certifiably amazing: Turkey is home to the second highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world, with new beaches being added each year. Last year, 21 new spots made the list, making up a total of 444 Blue Flag Beaches and marinas.
These coastal locations are incredibly important for the country’s tourism industry, and since Turkey joined the Blue Flag program a quarter of a century ago each municipality has worked hard to maintain these beauty spots. Our favourite Blue Flag beaches include: Patara, Konyaalti, Oludeniz and Side.
4. Connections are better than ever
Driven by domestic demand, Turkey’s air industry is booming. Passenger numbers within Turkey have grown at double digit rates for the last six years as living conditions improve and more Turks start to travel around the country for holidays.
This means your Turkish holiday doesn’t have to be confined to one spot: take in the beautiful Black Sea region, see Cappadocia from a hot air balloon, or spend a few days in incredible Istanbul. What’s more, thanks to the aforementioned low lira, you can do so at a discount this year.
5. Turks will be extra happy to see you
Turkish people are famously friendly. A chance conversation in the street can turn into a lifelong (or at least, holiday-long) friendship. Ask someone directions and you might find yourself invited along to a nephew’s wedding. On any holiday to Turkey you’ll experience that famous warmth and hospitality. But after two years of low visitor numbers, you can guarantee the Turks you meet will be extra friendly, and happy that you’ve chosen to holiday in their country.
And so, while you enjoy a bargain holiday in the peace and quiet in the gap left by thousands of absent tourists, you can also be content in the knowledge you’re providing local people with an income. And what’s nicer than making someone happy?
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