Business owners Nurdane and Ali Ates never thought they would see the day their hotel was booked and busy again.
Paradise Hotel, located in Turkey’s western town of Pamukkale, opened right before the covid pandemic hit and for a brief time was a popular place to stay due to its close proximity to the famous Hierapolis thermal waters.
Like most countries though, Turkey was heavily affected by the pandemic, with tourism comprising a significant part of its economy.
The number of international visitors arriving in Turkey dropped from 45,058 in 2019 to 12,374 in 2020. It took another two years for the country to manage to attract a similar level of international visitors as it had in 2019, with 44,564 arrivals in 2022.
For two years during the pandemic, couple Nurdane and Ali struggled to keep their hotel afloat, coming close numerous times to having to shut their business down.
“It was a very stressful and hard time for us here, our hotel heavily relies on tourists so when no one could travel, we were very impacted and worried,” Nurdane said.
“We are a family business so luckily we didn’t have to fire staff, but we did have to make a lot of changes to our business and we did consider closing permanently.”
Ali was grateful they had a supportive family and emergency savings to keep Paradise Hotel running.
“We are very thankful that we had the resources to just keep Paradise alive, we have lots of friends in the industry who were forced to close down their businesses, which was very sad,” Ali said.
“Nurdane and I stuck together as a team and made sure we could do everything to stay open, but it is surreal that it actually happened.”
However, despite a growth in clientele since travelling resumed in Pamukkale, tourism isn’t quite where it used to be pre-pandemic.
The couple said they had noticed that the hotel wasn’t as busy as it was before COVID hit, but are working towards that.
“Of course we are so happy that Paradise Hotel is seeing lots of new people every week,” Ali said.
“But we are working towards the number we were experiencing before lockdown, good reviews and advertising on social media are a huge focus for us right now,” Nurdane says.
The Ates are currently experimenting with their social media platforms to gain more visitors.