The nine-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday will cheer the tourism sector in Turkey, with tourism players expecting approximately 2 million local tourists to flood to resorts, creating a financial turnover of 3 billion Turkish Liras ($500 million).

The holiday was planned to officially start on June 4 and end on June 6. But Turkish authorities recently signed a circular declaring that July 3 (a Monday) and July 7 (a Friday) would also be holidays, effectively creating a nine-day public holiday, including the two weekends.

“The announcement of the extension of the Eid al-Fitr holiday to nine days about a month and a half ago has made us very happy. In the past, the extension of such holiday times used to be announced about one week [prior to the holiday time]. But this time it was declared so early, coming in handy for customers wanting to buy cheap vacations and for tourism agencies aiming to earn a higher revenue,” said Tolga Gencer, who heads the Turkish Travel Agencies in the Aegean region.

“So, from now on as well, we want such holiday dates to be planned at the beginning of the year. In the recent periods, all sectors have been affected from the [local] election environment, but the elections coming to an end has affected [people’s] holiday plans positively. And this will create an import turnover for the [tourism] agencies. We are expecting approximately 2 million tourists to take a holiday during Eid al-Fitr, which corresponds to a 3 billion Turkish Lira turnover,” said Gencer.

Gencer said that all-inclusive hotels in the Aegean province of Muğla and the Mediterranean province of Antalya were hotspots for many people booking their spots earlier for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“There is an increase in bookings in hotels in Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye [all districts of Muğla province], Lara [district in Antalya] and Antalya. If the holiday had been limited to only three to four days, hotels in Kuşadası [district in the Aegean province of Aydın] and Çeşme [district in the Aegean province of İzmir] would anyway be booked fully. But the extension of the holiday period increased the demand for tourism spots that are more far away,” he said.

Not only beach touristic spots, but also sightseeing sites were popular among local tourists this year, according to Gencer. “The Black Sea region, southeastern Anatolian region and Cappadocia tours are also getting attention as such tours cover a period of seven to eight days. We are also expecting the sale of these tours [by the tourism agencies] to increase,” said Gencer.

The occupancy rate of many hotels, hostels and mountain hotels in the Black Sea province has already hit 90 percent. Uzungöl, a village at the banks of a lake in the middle of the mountainous landscape in Trabzon; the famous Sumela Monastery in Trabzon; the Ayder Plateau of Rize province, Tüthe Kızılırmak Delta Bird Sanctuary in Samsun province; the Persembe Plateau in Ordu province; Mavigöl (Blue Lake), a lake that offers a turquoise color with the effects of natural mineral water and limestone in Giresun province; Karagöl (Black Lake), a lake located in the Borçka district of Artvin province; the Karaca Cave in Gümüşhane province and the Erfelek Waterfalls in Sinop province are some of the destinations drawing tourists to the Black Sea region of Turkey.

Hoteliers in the southeastern province of Mardin are also happy with the bookings for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr. The 10,000-bed capacity in hotels in the province has already been booked, according to Mardin Tourism and Hoteliers Association (MARTOD) President Özgür Azad Güngör. “With the news of the [extension of] Eid al-Fitr holiday, we see a very high demand, both from inside and outside the country,” Güngör said. 

A similar interest for the historical region of Capaddocia in Central Anatolia has been seen. Göreme Tourism Development Director Mustafa Durmaz said that they were expecting the region to “break a new record” in terms of the number of tourists this upcoming Eid al-Fitr, adding that hotels were already booked 90 percent.