Story: 14 May 14, 2018
I urgently need a holiday.
I choose the first cheap holiday and last-minute deal that I come across on a specialist online travel agency. A few clicks later, the trip is organised, scheduled to depart the following Monday. An all-inclusive resort, everything is planned; there is nothing more to think about.
21 May 21, 2018
Welcome to the province of Antalya, southern Turkey, the most touristy region in the country. The landscape? Hundreds of resorts, one after another, along the Mediterranean coast. And the expanse is growing every year. My hotel was built in 2015, the one next door, just a few metres away, dates from 2017.
First days and first disappointments. When travel agencies promise luxury holidays in fabulous five-star hotels, the reality is not always up to scratch. Cardboard décor, low-quality products, limited amenities and exorbitant extras, hotels exaggerate appearances but provide the bare minimum. The idea is clearly to attract as many people as possible with ridiculously low prices – which are then justified.
In terms of culture, the region is home to some ancient sites. All day long, local buses go around the hotels to transport convoys of holidaymakers to these historical landmarks, or into town. Once in town, the only locals are shopkeepers, catering to the hordes of tourists recognisable by plastic bracelets signifying their membership to a particular hotel. The only way to access the cultural points of interest is to fight through a deluge of souvenir shops, selling mainly counterfeits and some rare local products, which can obviously be paid for in euros. Only two small towns are accessible by bus, so for any other trips the only option is to choose one of the excursions sold by the agency.
Of course, we could stay inside the resort all week, and we are encouraged to do so. Everything is there for our amusement: entertainment, shows and an unlimited 24-hour bar. Another hobby I developed in Turkey is dodging hotel employees who spend their days selling spa treatments, city parties or photographs with a parrot.
My final observation is that at the time of collective global awakening on sustainable development, the notion seems to have escaped a great deal of the European population. Faced with the abundance of the buffet lunch and dinner, many tourists do not hesitate to abuse this luxury, some even throwing food away with an attitude of total indifference. Holidaymakers come here for peace of mind, meaning that ideas of ecology and heritage preservation are an uncomfortable itch.
28 May, 2018
Back in Paris. I did not visit the real Turkey. But fortunately, I was able to buy postcards at the hotel gift shop as proof.