Despite recent tumultuous times, Turkey’s allure is not lost, especially to travellers intent on experiencing one of the most fascinating and beautiful destinations on earth. We chat with Derya Serbetci Acar, the Director for Cultural and Tourism Affairs at the Turkish Consulate in Toronto, who tells us that when it comes to memories, Turkey has a lifetime’s worth just waiting for travellers to capture.
1. What does Turkey offer as a tourism destination?
Breathtaking natural beauty, historical and archaeological sites, steadily improving hotel and tourism infrastructure, and a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Turkey has become one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. In Turkey, you will experience an incredible diversity of nature, culture, history, beliefs and ideas.
2. What do you want travellers to know in terms of safety and tourism?
Turkey is currently the sixth most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting almost 40 million tourists annually. In 2015, Turkey hosted 37.4 million tourists. It is at least as safe as other major European countries such as France, Spain, Germany or the U.K. Turkish authorities have successfully disrupted attack planning in the recent past, and in response to last month’s attack in Istanbul, security has been tightened and additional measures have been put in place. Right now, our guests can confidently have a secure vacation in all of our destinations, and there is no negative impact from this.
3. What are Turkey’s top must-see attractions?
Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are among the must-see sites. Adorned with lights on both sides, the amazing scenery of the Bosphorus can be enjoyed by taking a boat excursion. Seafood lovers should dine at the terrific fish restaurants of Istanbul, and I also need to mention that Gaziantep Cuisine was just included into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
4. What’s one bucket-list activity that all travellers should add to their list?
The 2016 International Horticultural Exposition (EXPO 2016) will be organized in Antalya between April 23 and Oct. 30, 2016. During the EXPO, you can enjoy world-class concerts by Elton John, Ricky Martin and Sting. Antalya, where Turkey hosted the G20 Summit in November 2015 and where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid his first overseas visit, is a peaceful city situated on the Mediterranean shores of Turkey. Antalya can be visited in any season, but this ‘blue’ city enchants with its beautiful beaches especially in the late spring, summer and early autumn.
5. What is your favourite memory of Turkey?
I have many special memories of Turkey, however, I would have to highlight the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia as one of my favourites. This experience is truly breathtaking and extraordinary. To watch the sun rise over this fascinating landscape of rock formations, and to see all the colours and mountains while in the air with over a hundred other colourful balloons is a unique and exhilarating feeling. Turkey has something for every type of traveller and I am confident that anyone who visits will leave with many wonderful favourite memories.
For more information, brochures and videos on Turkey please visit our website turkeytourism.ca.