Cittaslow Gökçeada Island prepares to welcome visitors
Gökçeada, the world’s first island of Cittaslow, in the western province of Çanakkale is preparing to welcome visitors this summer.
Located in the far west of the country and formerly known as Imbros, the 279 square kilometer Gökçeada is also Turkey’s largest island. It has always been one of the best-known tourist attractions for local and international travelers.
The island is an ideal spot for windsurfing, attracting kitesurfers and kitesurfers from Greece, Bulgaria and Romania in recent years with its strong and steady winds.
However, this year Gökçeada will welcome its visitors under the COVID-19 pandemic, as was the case in 2020.
“Last year and this year we had restrictions on the island due to the pandemic. But 2020 has always been a good year for Gökçeada in terms of tourism activity; there was great interest from holidaymakers, ”said Ünal Çetin, its mayor.
The new tourist season in Gökçeada will begin even before June 1, when Turkey is expected to move into the normalization phase, Çetin said, noting that he expects the island to attract large numbers of local tourists this season.
“We will welcome our guests in a very isolated environment,” he said.
The sites have completed their preparations to welcome visitors in accordance with anti-virus measures, said Murat Çureban, general manager of a local hotel.
“The full lockdown period has given hotels and other tourist sites an opportunity to finalize their arrangements,” he added.
Çureban said his facility had trained newly recruited staff on anti-virus rules to follow.
Gökçeada has smaller accommodation facilities, providing a more enjoyable stay for vacationers, according to İpek Dağınık, owner of a boutique hotel on the island.
“There are no big hotels here. People feel at home when the facilities are small. They have more personal space and there are a lot of outdoor places, ”she added.
Over the past year, tourist interest in the island increased amid the pandemic, as it took advantage of the fact that it was a “remote vacation destination”.
Its geographical location also benefits the island. It is close and easily accessible from Istanbul, Izmir, the third largest city in the country in terms of population, as well as from the industrial city of Bursa.