Wildfire in Turkey scorches tourism recovery

Published on : Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Wildfires are sizzling some of the popular destinations in Turkey have made the nascent recovery of the tourism sector of the country upside down for more than a year by the pandemic.

Happy beachgoers were seen rushing to the coastal areas have now turned nightmare as wild fires have compelled mass-evacuations of tourists as well as locals in cities like Bodrum and Marmaris.

Tuesday was the seventh day consecutive as Turkish firefighters are fighting hard to battle the fire, fueled by summer temperatures and strong winds. It has caused at least eight deaths so far and forced numerous residents to run for life.
The financial impact is already costly beyond the physical destruction. “We are devastated,” said Huseyin Aydin of Bordum Tour, a travel agency that books boating excursions in the Mediterranean Sea. “All the routes for the boat tours have been canceled as of now, and they will also be canceled into next year because all the nature sightseeing parts of our tours are completely burned.”

Aydin told VOA that his business needs to get shifted to other tourist ventures or risk shutting completely.

Things look less severe elsewhere in the country.

In Istanbul, tourists can be seen roaming around in the streets after the government raised all pandemic-related restrictions to improve the economic activity as well as kindle the tourism sector of the country.

“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said Tania Nel, a resident of Qatar who has spent almost a month traveling Turkey.

“It was a country that I could enter easily, with just a PCR [COVID test], and obtain a visa for online. I’ve always wanted to see Turkey and, with other countries being closed, it seemed like a very obvious choice,” she told VOA. “Things being comparatively cheap here also meant I could stay longer and see quite a lot of regions in the country.”

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