DIDIM Mayor Deniz Atabay has signalled 2018 as the year for tourism to come back strong after being in the doldrums for the last couple of years.

His comments were made in the first of regular meetings between the authorities and tradesmen on the eve of the main holiday season.

The meeting was called at Didim Chamber of Commerce Aytac Nurullah Kocabıyık Cultural Center and attended by council reps, such as deputy mayor Salih Bankoğlu, Didim tradesmen, supervisors and local dignitaries.

Mr Atabay said that the 2017 tourism season “is going to be difficult for everyone interested in tourism” due to the political and economical environment.

“We are all in a distressed situation now and the tourism sector is the first and most affected by this. When people are not safe, they give up going on vacation. We appreciate the season will not be very good.

“I hope that 2017 will not go as it has begun, but I think that in 2018, we will be on the comeback.”

He said Didim had successfully embarked on the ‘Altinkum Beautification Project’ work in the last few years to improve the area, particularly Yalı Caddesi.

He said more needs to be done particularly the area in the middle of the resort which has been locked in legal dispute for some years.

Mr Atabay said: “There is also an unbelievable turbulence in the visual sense that if we are going to make money from the places we open we need to ensure the people who work properly do not frighten the incoming customer and give good service. Some are creating incredible chaos.

“We need to get away from a certain mindset while trying to protect the tradesmen.

“Altinkum is not the property of anyone, not mine as a manager, nor is it the property of a tradesman. It is worth the same as the Temple of Apollo, the common property of everyone, such as sea, sand and sun.

“We have to do the duty that falls on us and make the place much better. We must benefit all of Didim and create economic gain.”

Tradesmen attending the meeting also wanted to find a way to solve several problems such as the entertainment tax fee, the music volume reduction after 00:00 and license restrictions

Follow up meetings will be held during the course of the summer.