Turkiye: Black Sea region becoming new tourist hotspot

The Black Sea region is becoming a new hot favorite of tourists looking to spend their holidays in Turkiye , attracting travelers especially from Middle Eastern countries.

With the cities in the region joining the club of tourist hotspots, Turkiye can now offer more options to foreign holidaymakers.

Among those destinations, the province of Trabzon stands out. Last year, the city welcomed more than 515,000 tourists, of which 222,000 were foreign holidaymakers. In the first seven months of 2023, 737,000 tourists visited the city.

With its nature, highlands and long seashore, the Black Sea is rising to prominence as a tourism hub, Transport Minister Abdülkadir Uraloğlu said. “This also offers opportunities to the local economy.”

The airport in Trabzon is the seventh busiest on domestic routes and ranked 10th in terms of international passengers, Uraloğlu said, adding that on June 30, the airport served a record 145 airplanes.

Uraloğlu expects the tourism activity in the city to gather more momentum with the construction of a new airport.

This summer, nearly 4,000 fights landed at Trabzon Airport from Germany, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq, Qatar, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Jordan.

The Black Sea region started attracting tourists after COVID-19, said Volkan Kantarcı, the Black Sea region representative at the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).

“We had not seen such a strong interest in the region before,” he said.

The city center and the highlands around Trabzon are bustling with tourists for three to four months of the year, according to Kantarcı. “As more tourists arrive, restaurants to hotels to souvenir shops are expanding their businesses to meet the demand,” Kantarcı said as he explained how the influx of tourists is impacting the local economy.

Kantarcı, however, warned that things may spiral out of control. “Trabzon is becoming just like Antalya. We need to move with some caution. The capacity of accommodation facilities should increase, and more inspections should be carried out on those facilities.”

The Black Sea region has been appealing to tourists especially from the Middle Eastern nations over the past couple of years, said Murat Toktaş, the vice president of the Turkiye Hoteliers’ Federation (TÜROFED).

Most of the tourists are traveling to Trabzon due to the marketing strategies, he noted. “One reason for this is that there are direct flights from foreign countries to the city. Demand has been stronger than supply for a long time… The local tourism industry did not handle this situation properly. This has been a rather unchecked growth [in tourism activity],” he said.

Toktaş proposed that the provinces in the Central Black Sea region should also be promoted and that more international flights should be directed to those cities.

There is a huge demand for those provinces, but tourists cannot travel there, as there are not enough flights to those destinations, Toktaş said.

“If the tourism activity remains limited to Trabzon, this situation cannot be sustainable,” he stressed.


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