Having hosted Turkey's historic victory over France in the EURO 2020 qualifiers on Saturday, Turkey's Central Anatolian city of Konya has also added tourism to the game's overflowing enthusiasm. All the hotels in the city, including the guesthouses, are reported to have reached their full capacity due to the matchup.
World champion France was given a cold shower on Saturday in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Turkey, which kept up pressure throughout the game for a 2-0 home win and placed itself in the lead in Group H.
Some 1,000 French supporters were said to have arrived in the city, which welcomed over 30,000 people including overnight visitors. The game was closely followed by 75 French press members, as well as 25 global sports channels. Indicating that the city would attract international attention, tourism representatives said the demand of foreign tourists, renowned for their interest in football, would increase by 30 percent.
In addition to hotels, restaurants, cafes, souvenir sellers and shops also got their share from sports tourism. The shopkeepers were quite pleased with the supporters of both teams filling the streets of Konya. Tourism professionals foresaw an average contribution of TL 4 million to the city's economy in three days, stressing that Anatolian cities should house these games more.
Konya Chamber of Commerce (KTO) Chairman Selcuk Öztürk said the game made an immense contribution to the promotion of Konya. Hasan Bozkurt, the general manager of Dedeman Konya Hotel which hosted members of Turkish Football Federation (TFF), noted that Konya had a capacity of around 9,000 beds.
"All the hotels are full. Eighty percent of this occupancy was due to the game. High demand also increased the room prices by 30 percent," Bozkurt said, pointing to the wide media coverage of the game on international sports channels.
"This has made a great publicity contribution to Konya, turning the attention of the world to our city. This is expected to increase the number of foreign tourists by around 30 percent," he added.
Hilton Garden Inn Konya Hotel officials said the supporters of the French team were fascinated by the city, adding that some foreign tourists even booked for the summer. The Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Konya, which hosted the members of the Turkish national team, reported a 100 percent occupancy rate. Anemon Konya Hotel Front Office Manager Özgür Arsoy, on the other hand, stressed that the hotel, which was 65 percent full because of the end of the nine-day holiday, reached full occupancy due to the game.
"There were those who asked for a room toward the start of the game. We were unable to provide them with a room due to occupancy. Demand was quite high," he noted.