In order to contribute to the tourism of the country, Directorate of Civil Aviation (SHGM) under the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has decided that hot air balloon transportation (tours) special to Cappadocia region could be also done in other provinces of the country.
As a result of the evaluation based on a research made on “promoting balloon flights” in different regions of the country 9 suitable locations were listed as follows: Burdur (Bucak), Denizli (Pamukkale), Adana (Kozan), Bitlis (Ahlat), Ankara (Polatlı), Afyonkarahisar (İhsaniye), Eskişehir (Seyitgazi), Samsun (Bafra), Aksaray (Ihlara).
In fact SHGM had opened the Pamukkale region to balloon flights last year and granted license to 5 companies to carry out commercial aviation activities with hot air balloons, in order to further develop the potential of the country in hot air balloon tourism.
In addition to the permits granted to 5 establishments providing the requirements under the relevant regulation, 3 other establishments were also granted preliminary permission to complete the necessary requirements. Thus, if the enterprises in question are entitled to receive a license, the number of enterprises operating in Pamukkale will increase to 8.
To provide information in regards, Turkey runs the largest commercial “hot air balloon operation” in the world in terms of traffic volume, number of passengers as well as days flown.
Based on data provided by SHGM, 25 ballooning companies in Cappadocia manage an average of 260 flights annually with 239 balloons. On the other hand, around 90 flights are carried out daily, serving up to 500 thousand tourists yearly.
Only for comparison purposes, looking at figures recorded in hot ballooning sector in some other countries we see the following: based on information received from the SHGM, while the number of days flown in countries such as Germany, UK, France and the Netherlands does not exceed 60 per year, this figure goes up to 260 flights in Turkey. Kenya is reported to be the country with nearest number of flights to those in Turkey with 150-175 flights annually.
In Australia, which is one of the countries with intense commercial balloon operations, the number of days available to fly is limited to around 110-120 days, with approximately 100 commercial balloons operating in said country.
Looking at the picture it is very likely that the new initiative taken by the Ministry could pay off as far as Turkey’s tourism sector is concerned.