ANKARA: As almost whole Europe has refused entry to the inbound tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic, tourists veered toward Turkey, a country of vast attractions with its cuisine, natural wonders, and high-quality ski slopes.
Hit hard by the coronavirus during the summer season, Turkey hopes to offset the fallout in the tourism sector with a boom in pre-bookings for the winter season.
Popular for its heavenly seas and velvety sand under the bright sun along its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, Turkey also offers an unforgettable winter experience with its ski resorts covered with fluffy snow.
Among eight ski resorts in Turkey, Uludag Ski Center in northwestern Bursa and Erciyes Ski Resort in central Kayseri are popular destinations for ski and snowboard aficionados.
“Due to the travel restrictions in Europe or the Far East, tourists especially from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic mostly turned their route to Turkey,” Murat Cahid Cingi, the chairman of Erciyes Ski Resort, told media.
“For the first time, Kyiv-Kayseri direct flights are set to be launched as of Dec. 27,” he said, adding that some tour operators had to cancel their agreements as mountain hotels were fully booked.
More than 2 million tourists, with 10% skiers or snowboarders, visit the resort every year, Cingi said.
“We invented uludag.axess.shop where we sell tickets for Uludag ski runs online for the first time in Turkey.”
“This system is limited with 3,000 tickets for this year, and it seems that we will easily sell all.”
Meanwhile, Beceren emphasized that not only the hotels in the region but also cafes and restaurants have the “Safe Tourism Certificate,” which sets comprehensive safety standards in all areas, from airlines to accommodation, for Turkish citizens, international visitors, and tourism employees.
This year, skiing clothes and some accessories will only be sold instead of being rented for hygiene and sanity concerns, he also said.
The Erciyes Ski Center, which meets international standards, is one of the must-see places of Turkey in the winter season.
Being located near Cappadocia, another touristic region in Turkey famous for its fairy chimneys, having easily accessible areas and its budget-friendly policy, Mount Erciyes draws more attention with each passing day.
Uludag Ski Resort welcomes 4 million tourists every year with its 7,000-bed capacity hotels and 20 ski tracks of nearly 400,000 meters.
Tourists also choose Uludag, which offers snowboarding, sledding and snow-biking for the New Year and semester holidays.