Could caravan holidays be the next big thing in Turkey?

Caravan holiday, Turkey

Caravan holidays aren't the usual go-to for tourists visiting Turkey, but this might well be about to change.

The owner of a new caravan park in Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean coast, says he's fielding three times as many enquiries as usual as tourists seek a different kind of holiday.

The tourist industry had "changed forever," said the caravan park's manager, Ali Kaan, who has been fielding enquiries from tourists from all over Europe.

And so have tourist numbers, although this will hopefully be temporary. Between January and April, the number of international visitors entering Turkey dropped by 51% as the coronavirus saw international travel cease almost overnight. 

Read more: When can I fly to Turkey?

Turkey is now reopening its borders to tourists, as the economy and country begin to recover from an outbreak which has seen almost 5000 deaths in Turkey, and hundreds of thousands more around the world.

With tourism a vital part of Turkey's economy, the country is looking to ways to attract tourists in a world still on covid-alert. British tourists, who have always loved Turkish holidays, are some of the first to look at booking trips, mostly for 2021. It's not certain what tourism in Turkey will look like then: whether tourists will require airport temperature checks, or have to present certificates showing they're covid-free, or enter quarantine.

Tourism during a time of coronavirus will require a good deal of adaptation from Turkey's tourism industry, which is why tour operators like Kaan are working hard to find ways to pivot in the corona-climate.

Kaan's park currently has just seven caravans, but he's looking to expand, with new infrastructure going up alongside the park, like toilet facilities and electricity. Eventually, he'd like to roll out the operation across 34 provinces around the country.

"There are about six million caravans in Europe," he said. "Our country cannot even get one per cent of it.

"We want to realise the project within two years and offer Turkey as a caravan route to European tourists."


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