By Rauf Maltas
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – Nine provinces in the southeastern Anatolia region whose history, culture, gastronomy and nature are registered by UNESCO are preparing to gain from tourism activity with "Mesopotamia," –promoted as Turkey's first destination-oriented regional tourism brand.
As part of the Tourism-Oriented promotion and branding project within the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Region, which was launched to bring the rich cultural heritage of Adiyaman, Batman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Siirt, Sanliurfa and Sirnak to tourism and to ensure regional development, the tourism values of the region gained a global identity through the brand.
With Mezopotamya, the tourism circulation in the region is gathered under one roof.
The brand provides domestic and foreign visitors a mobile travel guide, including included maps, dining, accommodation and city routes.
Foreign tourists who want to travel the southeastern provinces with their ever-increasing historical and cultural values will be able to visit all of the cities that host beautiful places with their unique history, culture, gastronomy and nature, planned and programmed in a period ranging from three to nine days.
Gobeklitepe, Mount Nemrut, Diyarbakir Castle and Hevsel Gardens, Gaziantep with its unique tastes, Mardin with its churches and monasteries, Halfeti with natural beauties, Hasankeyf, Botan Valley and Mount Cudi stand out as historical and tourist attractions in the region.
Tourists showed interest, especially in cultural routes in the region, Muslum Coban told Anadolu Agency as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Turkish Tourist Guides Association and President of the Sanliurfa Regional Chamber of Tourist Guides.
“Especially the whole world knows the region as Mesopotamia. It was a very nice launch and promotion. We believe that we will receive the benefits and returns of this in a positive way in a short time,” said Coban.
He added that with the coronavirus pandemic slowly leaving, the attention to the region and the brand would increase.
-‘Mezopotamya,’ world brand
Mehmet Kamil Turkmen, a member of the Mesopotamian Tourism Platform, said the region was previously referred to by GAP tours, but the name is especially difficult for foreign tourists to perceive.
He emphasized that "Mezopotamya" is a concept that expresses the historical and cultural past very well.
“Mezopotamya is a world brand. The region is already called Al Jazeera in Islamic civilization and Mesopotamia in Greek culture,” said Turkmen. “Tourists living abroad can perceive this region when it is called Mesopotamia.”
“If our guests from abroad want to visit the entire region, they travel in nine days. If their time is very limited, they travel in the locomotive provinces of the region, they are subject to four-day travel plan programs,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming all our tourists. Let them come to Mesopotamia, and we will travel through history together.”
-Opportunity to travel entire region with one plan
Soner Bacaksiz, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), said the new brand created a new expectation for the region's tourism.
“The brand Mezopotamya contributes to the growth of interest and demand in the region in the coming days. We are talking about a very large destination that completely covers the southern line with the tour route starting from Gaziantep,” he said.
He also emphasized that the brand will allow tourists to visit the entire region with one plan.
Mehmet Akyil, chairman of the Executive Board of the TURSAB Diyarbakir region, believes the brand will help the region’s name to be well-known around the world.
Akyil, who said GAP tours were previously limited to Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Mardin, expressed that the new brand is much more inclusive with nine provinces.