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Promoting Kalkan: Ilios Travel brings UK travel agents to Kalkan PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2017

Ilios Travel - trip to Kalkan May 2017In these challenging times for tourism we report on a great initiative by tour operator Ilios Travel to bring UK travel agents over here to experience Kalkan for themselves.

Ilios Travel is part of the Visions Holidays Group and in partnership with Turkish Airlines, earlier this month they flew out nine travel agents from across England and Wales.  Their host in Kalkan was Rıdvan Zeybek, owner of Kalkan Experience Property and local agent for Ilios Travel. 

The aim of the trip was to convince the agents that they can be confident in promoting Kalkan as a first class holiday resort and to be able to reassure their clients from their own first hand experience that Kalkan is genuinely a safe and welcoming holiday destination.

The travel agents flew from Birmingham to Istanbul where they had an opportunity to visit the Turkish Airlines training facilities and their catering operation.  The following day they took a flight down to Dalaman International Airport and then a luxury transfer to Kalkan.

Interestingly none of the travel agents had been to Kalkan before, and for some it was their very first time in Turkey.

Below: The group at home in Kalkan.

Ilios Travel - trip to Kalkan May 2017

Combining work and fun
The itinerary, organised by Abbey Simkiss, National Sales Manager for Vision Holidays Group, was designed to combine work and fun, with site visits to check out accommodation plus a little sight-seeing and relaxation.

The group experienced Patara beach, Kaputaş beach, the outlying villages of Islamlar and Bezirgan, as well as taking a relaxing boat trip around the bay, complete with mud bath.  They visited a number of Kalkan’s finest restaurants and bars - purely for research purposes you understand, and they were able to spend a little time over at the amazing Hotel Villa Mahal which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Ilios Travel - trip to Kalkan May 2017

Kalkan highlights
Kalkan does of course have a great reputation for its food - both traditional Turkish cooking and western dishes.  So what did they think of the cuisine? 

Despite some special dietary requirements (two food allergies, two vegetarians, one non-fish eater and a vegan), they proved that when eating out or staying in and cooking at the villa, such dietary requirements are genuinely not an issue and everyone ate well.

What else did they like about Kalkan?  Pretty much the same things that we all like really.  The friendliness of the people, the ambience of the old town, the Turquoise Mediterranean and its fine beaches, the impressive landscape and nearby traditional villages. 

Below: At the harbour, ready for a boat trip.

Ilios Travel - trip to Kalkan May 2017
Kalkan is safe
Oh and by the way they felt safe.  Yes, that’s right - they felt perfectly safe in Kalkan.  Now we know that’s not news to most KTLN readers but bear in mind that these travel agents had never been to Kalkan before and so all they had to go on was what they saw in the mainstream media.  Now they are better informed.

Views on Kalkan
Youngest on the trip was Sophie, aged 21.  Back in her office at Travel House in Camarthen she told us, “I was concerned about travelling to Turkey at first with all that has been going on, but I realised we wouldn't be going if it was not safe out there.  Now my thoughts on Turkey are that customers are really missing out on such a beautiful country.  I had such a fabulous time; I can’t wait to go back next year to Kalkan for my own holiday”. 

Sophie continued, “Having the opportunity to go on this trip has totally changed my feeling on Turkey, and I feel much more confident in selling Turkey now.  My first day back in work I recommended Kalkan to a customer”. 

Another agent on the trip was Jugal from Platinum Travel Lounge in Leicestershire.  She told KTLN, “I was a little apprehensive prior to the trip with the recent news, however there was nothing to worry about when we got to Turkey.  Having now been on this trip it has certainly inspired me to recommend Kalkan, especially the villas for my honeymoon clientele”.
 
Annette works for Travel Stop in Suffolk and following her visit she is now a Kalkan fan.  She explained, “Having now been to Kalkan, it will certainly make a big difference, as I now have a huge enthusiasm for this destination.  I would definitely like to go back - which says it all.  I felt very safe and relaxed being there”.

One final view from Angela of Hays Travel in Yorkshire.  “Having been to Turkey several times in the past and most recently in 2015, I had no qualms about visiting Turkey in spite of a lot of negative attitudes about the perceived security situation.  Having visited Kaş many years ago, I was very keen to see Kalkan and now cannot wait to visit again!  I found Kalkan and the surrounding area beautiful, and have been recommending it to everyone”.

Below: On the final evening, celebrating a wonderful trip.  Our guess is that it won't be their last visit!

Ilios Travel - trip to Kalkan May 2017

Getting the message across
In terms of promoting Kalkan we think that this is a great initiative from Ilios Travel, supported by Turkish Airlines.  It’s a useful way of cutting through some of the mainstream media negativity and getting the message across to holidaymakers that Kalkan has lots to offer.

If you are aware of any other initiatives like this do let us know.  We would be happy to give credit to those who are working to promote Kalkan in a more positive, and dare we say a more realistic light. 

And if you know people who might be thinking of going on holiday why not share this report with them.  But please do warn them that there is a serious chance of them being smitten with Kalkan, and there is a strong possibility that one visit will not be enough.

Note: The UK travel agents that came to Kalkan were as follows: Independent Travel Experts (London); Travel House (Wales); The Holiday Consultants (Derbyshire); Travel Stop (Suffolk); Platinum Travel Lounge (Leicestershire); Your Holiday Booking.Com (London) and Hays Travel (Lancashire & Yorkshire).

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 18 May 2017