Anzac milestone sets stage for 2015
The battlefields of Gallipoli are among the most visited places in Turkey for Australian travellers. But 2015 marks a milestone of special significance with the passing of 100 years since Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli and helped to define Australia as a nation. Some 8000 Australians received ballot passes to attend the Anzac Day ceremony on the Gallipoli peninsula, with a further 2000 tickets allocated to New Zealanders. However, hundreds more are expected to make the trip to Turkey to pay their respects. No expense has been spared on Turkey’s part with seven new apartment blocks built in Eceabat alone in addition to new roads, shops and signage to cater for the tens of thousands expected to descend on Gallipoli for the occasion. Tourism operators have reported a significant increase in interest for Turkey ahead of the Anzac Day commemoration with all tours sold out well in advance. But with the ballot wait list currently standing at around 35,000, operators are also expecting a solid increase in visitor numbers well into next year and beyond. Trafalgar Tours, which has almost 100 Australian ballot and non-ballot guests secured on Anzac Day tours later this month, has reported a “significant rise” in interest for Turkey, particularly from guests who want to travel outside of the major commemoration period. “Based on the significance of Anzac Day we expect the large number of Australians travelling to Turkey to continue to grow in 2016,” MD Matt Cameron-smith told travelbulletin. “Australian visitation numbers
Australian visitation numbers to Turkey continue year’ to grow year on
to Turkey continue to grow year on year and Trafalgar expects this pattern to follow in the post centenary year.” Tempo Holidays, which will operate two Anniversary Pilgrimage tours this month, is also expecting a spike in bookings for the Lone Pine centenary in August. While not as well known as the Anzac commemorations, all operators have openings for tours to commemorate the battles of Lone Pine in which more than 2200 Australians were killed or wounded by the Ottoman Empire. “Many people who are unable to make the Anzac pilgrimage are taking the opportunity to head to Lone Pine,” Tempo Holidays general manager NZ Greg Osbourne said, adding that younger Australians were also particularly drawn to the region. In line with Cameron-smith, Osbourne also expects that tourism to Turkey will see a sustained increase in the coming years. “People have a natural curiosity to understand what went on in Gallipoli and to understand our wartime history,” he said. “We believe as time passes interest will increase as the legend remains such as integral part of the Australian persona.” Beyond Travel has also reported a 17.5% increase in bookings for 2015 with the commemorations, with national marketing manager Bryce Crampton confident that the media coverage from the Anzac commemorations will put Turkey on the map.