This week we have made the difficult decision not to operate any of our Eastern Turkey or Mount Nemrut Tours for the remainder of this year due to safety concerns as a result of problems along the Turkey / Syrian border. Any guests who have been affected by this have been contacted and we have worked with them to make alternative travel plans. Decisions such as this one are difficult to make, however the safety of our guests and personnel is of paramount importance to us and so we would prefer to be cautious rather than take any risk. All of our other trips are operating as normal including our tours of the Black Sea region, and our guests are continuing to have a great time. We continue to liaise with local officials and monitor government travel warnings, however at this stage it is very much business as usual for the rest of our escorted tours, day tours and shore excursions. Here’s some recent feedback from our guests on Trip Advisor:
We really ended up seeing a lot of sights and can’t wait to go back to explore it more in depth. (July 2015)
We did a 9-day tour, starting in Istanbul, then on to Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, and Kusadasi (Ephesus), and we had a fabulous time. … Being in a smaller group, and with Ḉagman’s experience, was excellent, especially in busy places such as Istanbul, as we were able to avoid the busiest times in the popular sites, park the smaller bus close to venues, etc . Overall, an excellent tour. (July 2015)
Recent events in Turkey, including an incident this week at the US consulate in the Istanye area, and another at a Police Station in Sultanbeyli understandably have travellers a little nervous. There were no civilian deaths or injuries. These attacks were not targeted at tourists or civilians. Neither our tours nor our optional activities visit either of these areas, and in Istanbul we take care to travel by private vehicle as an extra precaution. The reality is that events like this are sadly more regularly occurring all over the world.
Different parts of Turkey are currently subject to differing levels of travel advice from foreign governments. Most are advising against travel within 10-50km of the Syrian border, and then they advise against all but essential travel to the areas a bit further back from the border. When deciding whether or not to come to Turkey it is important to remember that Turkey covers a huge geographical area. Cappadocia is the most Easterly point travelled to on most of our escorted tours, and this is around 600km from the problem area and not close to the zones cautioned against.
We have had formal advice from the Turkish Association of Travel Agencies (TURSAB) that all necessary measures are being taken in Istanbul and throughout Turkey by the Turkish Security Directorate to ensure the safety of foreign guests visiting Turkey, as always. The reality is that most visitors to Turkey will not notice anything other than normal daily life and business as usual as they travel around Turkey.
So what about next year? At this point it is too early for us to make a decision regarding whether to withdraw our Eastern Turkey tours for 2016 from sale. We were able to safely run our May departure of our Eastern Turkey tour this year, and hope that this will be the case in 2016.
Like anywhere in the world, it is important to use common sense and use normal safety precautions such as registering with your country’s traveller registration program if one exists, avoiding any public demonstrations or protests and taking usual traveller safety precautions.
Thank you for your continued support, and please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly sales team at: firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any queries re this matter.