Hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia attract more than 2 million tourists
Hot air balloon rides are a favorite for tourists as they give them a unique way of taking in Cappadocia's natural splendor. Osman Süslü -- the mayor of Üçhisar town in Nevşehir -- told Turkey's state-run news that hot air balloon tours have greatly increased tourist traffic in Cappadocia.
Over the past five years, more than 2 million tourists explored Turkey's Cappadocia region on the distinctive hot air balloons that have become symbolic of the historical region.
Cappadocia is located in central Anatolia's Nevşehir province and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.
Hot air balloon rides are a favorite for tourists as they give them a unique way of taking in Cappadocia's natural splendor.
The Nevşehir Governorate's data shows a total of 13 million tourists have visited the region over the past five years; 2.6 million in 2015, 1.5 million in 2016, 2.2 million in 2017, 2.9 million in 2018, and 3.8 million in 2019.
According to figures compiled by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, 2.2 million of Cappadocia's visitors opted for a bird's-eye view of the region's volcanic landscape, which includes cones or "fairy chimneys", underground cities, and majestic rock formations.
The balloon rides have become an indispensable part of the historical region's appeal and the data shows that they run an average of 300 days every year.
Osman Süslü, mayor of Üçhisar town in Nevşehir, told Anadolu Agency that hot air balloon tours have greatly increased tourist traffic in Cappadocia.
"Cappadocia has some of the most favorable weather conditions for hot air balloon rides in the world. There have been efforts to replicate such balloon tours in other regions of Turkey and other parts of the world, but they have not been as successful because of the weather conditions," he said.
A tour operator, Fatih Yılman, said tourists' interest in hot air balloon rides seems to be growing with each passing year.
"There are more and more reservations every year. We are completely booked out for weeks in advance," he said.