Natural wonders of Turkey's Rize attracts visitors
The natural wonders of Rize -- one of the most prominent tourism destinations of northeastern Turkey -- is attracting local and foreign tourists.
Rize, located on the Black Sea coast, is particularly popular with Arab tourists, mostly from the rich Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait.
It offers breathtaking landscape views in every season and is also known for its rich cuisine; the mihlama -- local dish, which is a kind of an omelet -- is a popular food from the area which offers several other unique flavors.
The city, which continuously increases its tourism potential and welcomed 800,000 local and foreign visitors last year, aims to host a million tourists this year.
* Ayder Plateau in Rize
İsmail Hocaoğlu, provincial director of culture and tourism, told Anadolu Agency the tourist numbers had been increasing steadily over the last 10 years.
"Two more 5-star hotels, which will have a 500-bed capacity, will be open to business this year. With these new facilities, we will reach approximately 1,000 beds and we aim to host approximately 1 million visitors in 2018," Hocaoğlu said.
"In recent years, visitors from Gulf countries have shown an interest in our city. Foreign visitors come from mostly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, U.A.E., Kuwait and Iran.
* Magnificent view of Ayder Plateau
"We also get a significant number of tourists from the neighboring countries Georgia and Azerbaijan," he said.
Hocaoğlu believes the new Rize-Artvin Airport would further increase the number of Arab visitors once completed. The construction of the airport, which will serve both Rize and neighboring Artvin province, started last April.