Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said that the target bed capacity in the Aegean Tourism Center Çeşme Project was reduced from 100 thousand to 55 thousand due to protection demands.
Minister Ersoy, at the "Aegean Tourism Center Cesme Project Information Meeting" held at the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Köşger, Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer, Cesme Mayor Ekrem Oran, Izmir Chamber of Commerce (IZTO) President Mahmut Özgener, Izmir Commerce Exchange Chairman Işınsu Kestelli met with tourism professionals, representatives of professional chambers and district mayors.
After the video showing the description of the project, Minister Ersoy explained the process and detailed plans regarding the project.
Expressing that they aim to share every stage of the project with the components in the city and shape the work in line with the suggestions received, Ersoy said, “We thank the institutions that said 'How can we do it' instead of saying 'no' to the project with prejudice and that managed the process with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism by trying to understand.” said.
Expressing that the Aegean Tourism Center Çeşme Project will shape the future of Turkish tourism with its “sustainability-oriented” approach, Ersoy emphasized that they aim to protect the culture and history of the region with this study.
Explaining that they will implement a great vision project that will develop the Aegean from the local level, Ersoy stated that sports and fair areas, villages focusing on different themes such as gastronomy, health and ecology, and gardens where products unique to the Aegean are grown will also be included in the work.
Informing that 27,5 kilometers of coastline and 4,3 hectares of forest area as well as 42 percent of the project area will be preserved in its natural state within the scope of the project, Ersoy said that 1,2 percent of the floor area on which the buildings and structures to be built, in other words, the building footprint of the project, will be preserved. stated that it will be limited to
Minister Ersoy, with the cooperation of official institutions and universities, provided transportation studies, ecological research and evaluation, strategic environmental evaluation, geological survey, feasibility of obtaining drinking-use water from sea water by reverse osmosis method, scientific preliminary study based on research and development, Mediterranean monk seal research and evaluation. He stated that many reports were prepared.
Minister Ersoy stated that the feasibility studies started in the first quarter of 2019 and the planning process started in September 2020, and that they shaped the project in line with the suggestions from official institutions.
Stating that the first proposal came from İZSU, Minister Ersoy said:
“İZSU requested the expansion of the conservation area around Kutlu Aktaş Dam. We fulfilled the request and made the necessary arrangements. Cesme Mayor Ekrem Onan had two requests. There has been an industrial site demand and the shortage of lodging in the region is extreme. There was also a request for lodging for the hotels that were built before. We also considered that request. Cesme District Governorate also had a land planning request to meet the needs of public personnel. We have met these demands.”
Pointing out that tourism in Çeşme is misconfigured and appeals to a uniform market, Ersoy said, “What we want to do with this project is to eliminate the problem of market diversification here. As in the Mediterranean, we are creating a tourist-dominated region. We are trying to create a tourism region where 85% will be foreign tourists. We are starting the tourism transformation.” he said.
Expressing that when the balance could not be achieved, there was traffic and infrastructure density, Ersoy said that they would solve the problems in the region and that they wanted to increase sea transportation.
“Not the Final Plan”
Pointing out that the changes in the project will be made in line with the needs, demands and suggestions, Minister Ersoy gave the following information:
“This is not a final plan. Modifications are being made to clarify the final plan. Both the strategic EIA must be completed and the relevant conservation decree must be published. We are in contact with the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. Plans are made in line with their suggestions. When we started the project, we started with 100 thousand beds, as protection requests came, the capacity increased to 55 thousand beds. 80 percent of this is planned as tourism and accommodation investment, and 20 percent of it is planned as tourism housing area.
Noting that the Marmara and the Mediterranean have a 40 percent share each in the number and income of tourists coming to Turkey, and the Aegean and other regions each have a 10 percent share, Ersoy stated that they want to increase the Aegean's tourism share to 20 percent with the correct regulation of tourism policies. he did.
Pointing out that the chronic problem in Çeşme is the short duration of the tourism season, Ersoy said, “Since it is mostly fixed on the domestic market, tourism is carried out for 3 months. Our goal is to spread it over 12 months. It is very important both in terms of sustainable tourism and important in terms of qualified personnel and tourists. It will have a different contribution to İzmir. Izmir will be connected to the whole world with direct flights and air traffic.” made its assessment.
Maximum Density Ratios
Expressing that they do not allow any construction in the area where the surf schools are located in Alaçatı and that they are planning a wind village, Ersoy said that there will only be Alaçatı tents in that area.
Minister Ersoy continued as follows:
“There are nearly 200 large and small hotels throughout the project, mainly boutique hotels. 95 percent is not by the sea. We started from the less density principle regarding total density. There are densities between 5 and 30 percent here. The maximum density is 30 percent in places with tourism accommodation, 20 percent in places with tourism residences, and between 5 and 10 percent in places with agro-tourism. The concrete footprint in the total project area is 1,2 percent. Many other points remain within the soft ground and protected area.”
Answering a journalist's question about imposing restrictions on investors, Ersoy said, “The most important thing for us is the maximum level of participation. I hope we will see both British and German investors. Dutch, Belgian, Russian, Ukrainian… We will impose certain restrictions on foreign investors. We will also impose limitations on Turkish investors, but the more international structure you create, the more sustainability of this project will be.” said.
Stating that the pasture area is included in the scope of protection and the village dealing with agriculture is also planned as an agro tourism area, Ersoy stated that a theme park area and sports fields will be built for tourism for 12 months, and a tennis-based concept will be opened to tourism.
Minister Ersoy stated that the planning studies are continuing and the tender phase will be started, and said:
“There are more than 200 hotels. There is no tender for a single investor. A separate investment tender will be opened for 200 different hotels. Investments are made on a parcel basis. Those who want to participate not only from Turkey, but from all over the world can participate. For each parcel, parcels will be auctioned with an open bidding system. Our predictions are that if the EIA report is completed within 2 months, the project will come to the planning stage in 2-3 months, the plan will be finalized, and then we will move on to the suspension stage. If the project is realized as it should be, our prediction is that businesses will open and come to life in 2025.”
Ersoy also said that he believes the project will reach the tender stage by the end of the year.
He stated that they will implement one of the best programmed projects in Turkey, increase the protected areas, work according to transportation, population and water needs, protect the local texture and take the opinion of the public.
Minister Ersoy noted that they attach importance to local sustainability and cooperate with the Union of Chambers of Craftsmen and Craftsmen to protect the small tradesmen in Çeşme.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy also examined the renovation works carried out in the historical Tekel Building in İzmir Alsancak before the meeting.