With Cappadocia reaching its highest January tourism numbers in a decade, by hosting 123,244 local and foreign tourists, the intense tourist activity has raised the hopes of sector representatives for 2019.
Tourism professionals operating in the region, known for its fairy chimneys, valleys covered with natural rock formations, historical monasteries, boutique hotels and hot air balloon tours, are expecting to experience the region's most intense tourism period ever.
This year, a new record expectation prevails in Cappadocia, which hosted over 2.9 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2018.
Having previously experienced calm winter seasons, Cappadocia welcomed 123,244 tourists in the first month of the year.
Cappadocia hosted 50,664 tourists in January 2010, followed by 50,137 tourists in the same period of 2011, 62,665 in 2012, 72,665 in 2013, 92,879 in 2014, 91,956 in 2015, 45,960 in 2016, 44,532 in 2017 and 102,540 domestic and foreign tourists in January 2018, while the region reached a 10-year high in January 2019 with 123,244 visitors.
Göreme Tourism Development Cooperative Chairman Mustafa Durmaz told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the intensity in the region would rapidly rise starting in spring when the tourism season begins.
"Such intensity was experienced in January in Cappadocia for the first time in the history of tourism," Durmaz said. "In January, the region became the most active tourism destination after the ski resorts. At the same time, it indicated that 2019 would be a good year. All hotels in the area are already booked for April, the beginning of the season."
Sami Daşdeler, a hotel manager operating in the region, said there was a significant movement in the region in the first month of the year, adding early bookings for the coming months showed that 2019 would be more active compared to the previous year.
"In 2018, Cappadocia experienced its best period compared to previous years," Daşdeler said. "We are even more hopeful for 2019 as the tourism sector. Early bookings point out that this year will be better, which is also confirmed by the data. We welcome people from all over the world."
Luan Dolly, an American tourist walking among the fairy chimneys, said he came back to Cappadocia after 20 years and that he was pleased to be in the same landscapes and natural beauties. "Cappadocia is a magnificent and unique wonder of nature. I am fascinated by underground cities and other historical sites. I get information about the history of the region. For me, this place is too beautiful to describe," he added.