Turkey's first bike-friendly hotel welcomes international cyclists

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 27.09.2016 23:29 Modified 27.09.2016 23:30
Turkey's first bike-friendly hotel welcomes international cyclists

Tourists opting for a bike vacation can use their time off to get more on two wheels and a bike hotel in Antalya's resort Belek town unites the love of cycling with the holiday option.

A hotel owner has transformed his establishment into a bespoke "bike hotel" exclusively designed for professional bikers or holidaymakers planning to explore the region on bike. The bike-themed hotel has an exclusive bike repair center, special equipment for large biking events and a healthy restaurant menu designed for bikers.

Having reopened its doors in 2014, the bike hotel wants to host vacationers in the winter months as well, a stagnant time for hotel businesses in Antalya. The bike hotel is also working to host more cycling events. "Compared to European countries, cycling tourism has not developed in Turkey as it is required. With lengthy and well-designed biking routes, a great number of bikers head to Spain each year and combine their vacation with biking," Mehmet Kaplanpınar, the hotel's marketing manager, said. "If financially supported, cycling tourism can bring advantages to tourism professionals," he continued. In Europe, biking tourism has a more than 50 billion euros share.

Tolga Gündüz, a tourism agency coordinator and a former national biker, said biking is not a summer sport. As long as cycling events are encouraged in Antalya, bikers will come here, he said. "Each year, Mallorca hosts between 600,000 and 800,000 bikers. Antalya has similar potential. The bike hotel is only a first step," Gündüz said.

In the next year, the bike hotel is expected to bring 5,000 professional and amateur bikers to Antalya. "The number will hopefully rise in upcoming years," he added.

Starting on Thursday this week and scheduled to end on Oct. 2, the fifth edition of the Antalya International Cycling Festival will be a combination of a camping and biking experience. The region has hot, dry summers and offers a cool retreat in fall for cyclists in a serene environment. The festival's main lineup will begin in Tekirova, a coastal neighborhood in Antalya's Kemer district which features Blue Flag beaches.

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