Direct flights from Bahrain to Turkey's eastern Black Sea Trabzon province have started as of Sunday amid increasing interest from Gulf countries to the big tourist attraction with its Uzungöl (Long Lake) and Sümela Monastery.
Speaking at an event to promote a new tourism campaign targeting the Gulf region, the provincial head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry Ali Ayvazoğlu said charter flights will carry tourists to Trabzon once a week, but in May this number will be increased to three times a week.
Currently, private carrier Atlas Global Airlines is offering direct flights to Trabzon every Sunday, with a flight duration of three hours.
He added that direct flights from Doha to Trabzon will also start in the upcoming weeks.
375 of the 900 direct flights to Trabzon were from Saudi Arabian cities in 2017, Ayvazoğlu said, adding that the city will focus on promoting its touristic attractions in Jeddah, Dubai and Riyadh.
Tourism professionals say that the greatest problem for the people of the Gulf region, who are already interested in spending their vacation in Trabzon and the eastern Black Sea, is the lack of direct flights. Local travel agencies underlined that Gulf families initially prefer holiday centers with direct flights in order not to spend time waiting in airports.
According to data from the tourism ministry data, more than 2 million local and foreign tourists visited Trabzon in 2017. One of the city's most important tourist attractions is the Sümela Monastery, a site of historical and cultural significance as well as a major tourist attraction included in UNESCO's temporary list of World Heritage sites.
Also, Uzungöl (Long Lake), located in a valley between the mountains in the Caykara district has become popular among tourists. Besides its natural beauty, tourists can also try many other activities, including paragliding, trekking, and cycling.