Traffic jams are ubiquitous from north to south as millions of people, whether in their own cars or on passenger buses, make their way to their hometown or vacation resort for Qurban Bayram vacation, also known as the name of Eid al-Adha. Bayram will be marked next Tuesday but it’s officially a nine-day break that started on Friday and will end on July 26.
However, most people started to leave the major western cities on Thursday on National Unity and Democracy Day, another public holiday. On Friday morning, traffic stopped on many intercity roads. With so many vehicles on the road, traffic accidents are inevitable and every year dozens are injured.
The Interior Ministry issued long instructions on Friday to the security forces in charge of enforcing road safety rules, in order to reduce the number of accidents this year. Meanwhile, governors and mayors of southern towns, popular among vacationers, have warned vacationers to book hotels and other places before leaving as all hotels and similar places are full for the holidays.
As with last year’s bayram, authorities have not imposed any COVID-19 restrictions due to a drop in the number of cases and an increasing number of vaccinations. The country has already lifted curfews on July 1 and most restrictions, except for the mandatory mask rule, have been lifted. However, experts repeatedly warn vacationers to avoid crowded places.
The Mediterranean cities of Antalya and Muğla are among the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in major cities in the west, especially Istanbul, which is the most populous in the country with a population of over 15 million. Others prefer to visit their relatives, parents or children living in the cities of the interior regions of Anatolia.
The Interior Ministry announced on Friday that extraordinary measures to prevent traffic jams and accidents would be in place until July 26. More than 226,000 police officers will be on duty on the roads while road safety inspections will focus on particularly busy roads and “black spots”. where accidents are concentrated. Plainclothes police will also inspect passenger buses. Helicopters and drones will accompany the security forces to enforce traffic rules throughout Bayram. With all these precautions, authorities hope to avoid accidents that killed 60 people in the space of five days during Qurban Bayram’s vacation last year.
Traffic accidents are not the only challenge for vacationers. Finding a hotel room is almost impossible for thousands of people traveling to resort towns. Ersin Yazıcı, governor of the Mediterranean province of Antalya in Turkey, announced earlier this week that 680,000 beds available in hotels and other accommodation in the province were almost full. Yazıcı told reporters he was getting calls from vacationers, asking if he could help them find accommodation. “You have to book your room or you will run into problems,” he warned.
Yazıcı said they also receive up to 50,000 tourists per day from overseas to the city. “With Bayram, it will increase to 80,000 per day,” he said. “We will have a lot of people here. Last year there were fewer people because they feared the pandemic and were confined to their homes. Disruption of daily life due to depressed restrictions. They need vacations and Antalya is one of the most beautiful places to vacation, ”said Yazıcı.
The governor said almost all tourist facilities have “safe tourism” certificates that certify compliance with all COVID-19 measures.
Osman Gürün, mayor of Muğla, another popular province for vacationers, also warned against early bookings. “You must book your room in advance. Otherwise, your vacation could be in danger, ”Gürün told reporters.
Muğla is home to the popular resorts of Bodrum, Datça, Marmaris and Fethiye. Traffic on the roads leading to the province increased on Friday. The province’s population, which stands at around 1 million, is expected to quadruple over the nine-day vacation.