Tourists are becoming more adventurous. For many travellers, sitting on a beach all day just isn't enough to satisfy their curiosity about a new country. In response to this, and hoping to offer a more diverse experience for Turkey's tourists, tour operators are diversifying the way they operate. Here are a few types of tours we can look forward to in the not-so-distant future:
Turkey is at the fore of the world's best golf courses.
More and more golfers are discovering Turkey's fine courses. With investment capital pouring into new courses, adjacent housing projects and resorts, Turkey is promising to be one of the world’s most successful golfing destinations. The Turkish Golf Federation is even planning to build a whopping 100 golf courses over the next four years. Turkey’s golf courses are appealing to those keen to combine a round of golf with a trip to the beach. And while costs are low, quality has not been compromised and the expertly designed courses are attracting professionals from all over the world.
This offshoot of ecological tourism was borne out of a resistance to mass development. Tours explore the country’s plateaus, learning about the unique flora and fauna that can inhabit these unique places. Plateau tourism is particularly in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, thanks to their unique landscape and climates. Hiking is often a feature of these trips, and tourists explore the many mountain folds and inland plateaus.
Nature lovers are just beginning to discover Turkey’s winding waterways. The country’s rivers are well suited to rafting, canoeing and river skiing. A number of projects are currently underway to develop this further. Tour operators are already offering a number of eco-friendly river trips around the Antalya region.
There are 157 football fields in Antalya – and these are increasingly being utilised by foreign sports teams for winter training. Nine hundred football teams visited Antalya in 2009, and this year the number is expected to rise to around 1200. Sports teams are contributing to Antalya’s year-round tourism, with football teams accounting for 70 per cent of occupancy at Belek’s hotels in the off season.
Turkey’s low-cost, high-quality medical treatment is gaining attention around the world. Two hundred thousand people already travel to Turkey each year for medical procedures. The treatment offered is diverse. Patients can opt for hair transplants, dental surgery, ocular surgery or IVF treatment. And because the prices are so reasonable, it is often cheaper to combine a week’s holiday with medical treatment in Turkey than it is to have treatment at home.
Turkey lies at the corner of three continents, and has been subject to a wealth of different cultures and influences over its history. Faith tourism aims to capitalise on Turkey’s rich religious heritage, with tours taking in monuments like Saint John’s Basilica and the Shrine to the Virgin Mary. Muslim, Christian or Othadox – Turkey is a smorgasbord of religious artefacts.