Caravan tourism becomes trendy alternative in Turkey during COVID-19 pandemic

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Caravanning is becoming a trendy and safe alternative to traditional holiday plans in Turkey amid the current uncertain tourism season during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Caravan Park project was prepared in the Black Sea province of Trabzon for enthusiasts of caravans to establish such parks at highlands in the area and on the beaches for holiday makers who prefer to stay away from crowds for the concerns of the ongoing health crisis.

The project, supported by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, is expected to expand to 34 provinces across the country in two years, said the project manager Ali Kaan, adding the understanding of tourism has changed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"There are about 6 million caravans in Europe. Our country cannot even reach 1 percent of it. We want to realize the project within two years and promote Turkey as a caravan tourism option for the European tourists," Kaan noted, according to local reports.

Sait Aksoy, a retiree from over 25 years of hard work in the Turkish public service, got himself a caravan several years ago after realizing that he did not want to confine himself in an apartment in a big city.

"I bought myself a motor caravan and I moved around quite a bit in the country. Now I am very happy with my choice. My friends are calling to ask me about my experience and where they can hire a caravan for holidays in Turkey," he told Xinhua on the phone.

According to Aksoy, there are many caravan parks in Turkey, especially in provinces on the coast of the Aegean sea and the Mediterranean, where Turkey's most popular holiday resorts are located.

"I recommend this form of tourism, especially during this pandemic. People need something different," he noted, calling on authorities to invest more in this alternative form of tourism and construct more parking lots.

Turkey is gradually resuming air and road travels with the rest of the world after a nearly three-month lockdown, as the country is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 5,000 people and infected over 180,000 in the country.

However, new infections have worryingly jumped in the last week amid doctors' warning of a second wave of infections, causing concerns among tourism professionals.

Because of the outbreak, domestic and foreign tourists are mostly hesitant to go on holidays this year, making it very difficult for Turkey's economy, as tourism is a vital sector of the Turkish economy, accounting for some 10 percent of the country's GDP.

"COVID-19 has increased the demand for caravan tourism instantly," Leyla Ozdag, president of Turkey's Caravan Tourism Federation, told semi-official Anadolu Agency, calling on the government to improve standards of the infrastructures to develop camping and caravan tourism.

Turkey had many camping spots in the 1990s, especially along beaches in the country's southern province of Antalya, but they have given way to hotels over time, she noted. 

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