The picturesque Turkish region of Cappadocia has hosted a record-breaking number of tourists in the first half of 2023, with the region expecting 2023 to be its record high year.
World heritage and popular destinations
Named a UNESCO world heritage site, Cappadocia is located in the central province of Nevsehir and has become increasing popular over the last few years, due to the distinctive volcanic cones, which are known as fairy chimneys, the atmospheric underground cities, houses carved in the rocks, hot-air balloon trips and the churches, chapels and shelters which were used for many years in the beginning of the Christian faith.
Visitors flock in the thousands to historic sites
The total number of visitors flocking to the ruins and museums in the first four months of the year were recorded at 870,976; around 174,222 visitors were seen in January, with 99,389 visiting in February, 168,223 visiting in March and the majority – 429,142 – choosing to visit in April.
Last year Cappadocia welcomed over 4.1 million tourists and the most attractive places for visitors were the Kaymakli Underground City, the Goreme Open Air Museum and the Zelve Ruins.
During the first four months of 2023, it has been estimated that 114,779 visitors headed to the Kaymakli Underground City, while 211,772 visited the Zelve Ruins and a huge 229,337 visitors flocked to the Goreme Open Air Museum.
A sharp decline and impressive bounce back
According to the data produced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the number of visitors to the main tourist spots of the region were recorded in 2018 as 705,149, rising to 774,341 in 2019 before falling sharply in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; 2020 saw 322,894 visitors to the area. 2021 was worse with only 271,999 visitors but following the end of coronavirus restrictions the numbers sharply rose to 552,734 in 2022, showing a remarkable bounce back following COVID-19.
Unique and attractive for tourists
The major of the Urgup district, Mehmet Akturk, spoke and stated that: "our region is a unique geography. It is a region that has no alternative in the world. It is becoming a centre of attraction every year.” He continued to state he was confident from the current data that the number of visitors this year would surpass the previous year too.
Hopes for new tourists from China, Japan and South America
Tourists are likely to start arriving from China and Japan by the second half of the year, according to an expert. The expert continued to add that: "there are good developments in the South Korean market, when we look at the numbers, we can say that there is a serious increase. However, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico are irreplaceable to us. They come to our region for 12 months, and they keep us alive, but there is not much change in numbers. China and Japan will affect us very positively.”
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