Turkish coastal town looks forward to greeting Chinese guests

(Xinhua) 14:00, January 12, 2023

ISTANBUL, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- A resort town along the western Mediterranean coast of Türkiye is all geared up for the return of Chinese tourists as China eased its travel restrictions on Jan. 8.

"That's excellent news, and we were thrilled," said Celal Yildiz, owner of a travel agency in Fethiye, a district of the Mugla province famed for its valleys, beaches, and extreme sports.

The region became a top-rated and eye-catching destination for Chinese travelers after a batch of Chinese influencers visited Fethiye for a program shooting in 2015 and shared their paragliding experiences with the Chinese audience.

Touted as one of the best spots for paragliding, the 2,000-meter-high Babadag mountain stands perpendicular to the sea and provides perfect weather conditions to fly all year round. Adventurers can take off from the mountain and glide to the sandy beach of Fethiye's small town of Oludeniz.

Lots of Chinese people, especially the young generations, came here to experience the sport over the breathtaking view of the Oludeniz lagoon.

"I have friends from China, and we always chatted on WeChat," said Yildiz, emphasizing the good friendships he and Chinese visitors established.

"If everything goes on track, we will have a big explosion (in the number of Chinese guests visiting Fethiye in 2023)."

Ozgen Uysal, head of the Western Mediterranean Regional Representatives Board at the Turkish Travel Agencies Association, said that before the pandemic in 2019, the paragliding companies in Fethiye carried out approximately 166,000 flights, among which, 40 percent were done by Chinese guests.

"That is a very high figure for us," Uysal told Xinhua.

Recently, the area has started to receive increasing Chinese travelers. Among the approximate 100 flights per day, 15-20 of them were from Chinese guests, according to Uysal, who is optimistic for this year.

Mustafa Argin, the owner of three boutique hotels in Fethiye, told Xinhua that the entire region, incredibly keen on Chinese tourists, is eagerly preparing to welcome them.

"We are very familiar with the preferences of our Chinese guests," Argin told Xinhua, explaining that they filled breakfasts with food items suitable for Chinese tastes and hire about 70 percent of his staff who have an intermediate level of the Chinese language.

"Fethiye loves China, while the Chinese also love Fethiye, and the region is harmonious with them," Argin said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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