During a recent research trip to Turkey, I learned that this holiday season looks like being as dreadful as the last, with many hotels, travel agencies, restaurants and bars sure to close and a great many livelihoods lost. The sector is realistic about its prospects and is not the least surprised that the turmoil of the last year – the bombings, the shootings, the attempted coup, the state of emergency, the crack down on writers and journalists – has deterred even some of its most devoted visitors.
In these dire circumstances, all that most in the industry hope for is to hang on; maintaining a pulse, however arrhythmic, would be an achievement.
To that end, and as a way of showing long-term faith in this benighted but unfailingly lovely land, it’s been my intention to do our bit by running a programme of gulet tours, however reduced, this year.
A good number of you have already signed up, for which I’m very grateful, but we do need a few more takers for the figures to work, even when operator costs are cut to the bone. So if there are any waverers among you, or if you can point me in the direction of those who might be tempted to join us, your cooperation would be enormously appreciated.
Despite the relentless sequence of terrorist attacks on Turkey’s cities, there have been no security incidents in or near the country’s southwest coast, our touring area. It is also worth emphasising that the seasonal crowds and the occasional crush of gulets, the consequence until 2014 of Turkey’s burgeoning popularity, are sure to be much diminished this summer; now is the time to experience the Carian and Lycian littorals, with their glorious landscapes and ancient sites, which appear much as they were twenty or more years ago.
For those who are unfamiliar with life on gulets, here’s a link. Old hands, meanwhile, should need nothing more than the evocative illustration, newly commissioned by Heritage Travel in Bath, the programme’s operators, to remind them of what it’s all about.
The following departures remain available:
7 June – 17 June: ‘A Lycian Sea Journey’ is a 10-day tour which focusses on the more easterly reaches of Lycia. It takes in Myra and Arykanda, Lydae and Kaunos. The tour starts in Fethiye and ends in Dalyan. Click here for the full itinerary and prices.
23 September – 7 October: ‘Gököva, Caria and Greek Symi ‘ is a 14-night tour which explores the delightful Gulf of Gököva and the Loryma Peninsula, taking in the beautiful Greek island of Symi as well as inland forays to little-visited and magnficent sites like Stratonikeia and Lagina. The tour starts in Bodrum and ends in Fethiye. Click here for the full itinerary and prices.
7 October – 14 October: ‘Walking and Ruins: Eastern Lycia’ on the Seyhan Hanna, among the most delightful and spacious of all Turkish gulets. This week-long walking gulet holiday takes in the best walks and most remote sites of eastern Lycia’s Kaş and Kekova regions, including Apollonia, Aperlae and Hoyran. Click here for full itinerary and prices.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries or expressions of interest.