Tourism sector upbeat on winter school break

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Schools in Türkiye will start a two-week half-year term break on Jan. 20, with students and families eagerly awaiting the chance for travel and tourism professionals expecting a good inflow of tourists this year.

Cultural tours, thermal facilities and Turkish Cyprus are among the most popular routes for holidaymakers at a time when ski resorts lack snow globally.

Tour companies say that those who prefer a holiday abroad during the winter break focus on visa-free and nearby destinations.

The demand for a tour abroad has increased, officials say, adding that the numbers caught up with the pre-pandemic era.

“Türkiye has been a country for many years popular for skiing and mountain tourism during the winter school break, but climate change has also hit tourism,” said Mehmet İşler, the vice chairman of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation.

“While it was difficult in previous years to make reservations in Uludağ during the semester break, there is not enough snow in the mountains now. The slopes are supported for skiing with artificial snow in many resorts. Bulgaria, Switzerland, Austria and France are also experiencing this problem,” he added.

İşler noted that the travel demand for city hotels and thermal facilities has increased this year, with more interest in destinations such as Antalya, Bodrum, Marmaris, Çanakkale, Cappadocia and İzmir.

Reservations for the winter break are above their initial expectations, Pronto Tour chairman Ali Anaran said, adding that demand for cultural tours and hotels in Turkish Cyprus is on the rise.

“Our domestic cultural tour packages are 70 percent full,” Anaran said. “There is great interest in the southeastern region and Cappadocia. There is also demand for hotels in Antalya and Bodrum, and our tours from Turkish Cyprus are almost full.”

Those who prefer abroad tend to go to nearby destinations, “especially the Balkans, Morocco, Dubai and Egypt,” Anaran added.

Jolly Tour Marketing Manager Baran Kocabaş stated that vacationers act more comfortably this year due to the absence of problems such as pandemic restrictions and visa barriers.

“Italy and the Balkans are the most preferred destinations,” Kocabaş said. “There is interest in Van-Kars-Erzurum tours, Cappadocia tours and ski resorts. In addition, gastronomy tours are also increasingly preferred this year.”

According to information from the tour companies, the prices of tours for two adults and one child for two nights and three days start from 5,000 Turkish Liras ($267) on average and can go up to 15,000 liras ($800) depending on the tour content.

For tours abroad, the prices start from 8,000 liras ($425), and depending on the destination, the price could go up to 20,000 ($1,065) liras on average.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News