Steps taken to revive and boost Turkish tourism bode well for cruise tourism, and Ege Port in the Kuşadası region of the Aegean province of Aydın has hosted 152 cruise ships so far with 122,321 guests.
Tourists coming to Ege Port, where the highest number of cruise ships anchor annually, also visited the ancient city of Ephesus in the Selçuk district of İzmir and the House of the Virgin Mary and shopped in the region.
Kuşadası Ege Port General Manager Aziz Güngör said that the port, one of the most important in the world, hosts more tourists than the total number of visitors to all other ports in Turkey.
In 2017, Kuşadası Ege Port welcomed 126 ships and 118,418 cruise passengers. This year, the number of cruise ships anchoring at Ege Port rose to 152, while 122,321 tourists came to the region. Güngör stressed that the 21 percent increase in the number of cruise ships docking at Ege Port prove that tourism has recovered to a great extent.
"The rising number of bookings suggests that Ege Port will see 195 cruise ships anchor with 170,773 tourists in 2019. Bookings for 2020 are also going well. We see that big cruise firms are returning to Turkey, and the sector is overcoming the crisis," Güngör said.
Greek tourist Stella Koutoulli, who came to Kuşadası on the last cruise ship of the season, expressed her desire to visit Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary.
Harun Tanrıverdi, a shopkeeper in Kuşadası, highlighted that the 2018 season has been far better than the last two years as more cruise ships docked in the district port. He added that cruise ships significantly affect their businesses.