Troubles in Turkey ... Japan aims to triple tourism ... Jaunt.ca deal of day
Few countries have been as "hot" in tourism circles as Turkey in the last few years. I've seen story after story about beautiful coastlines and rugged mountains and idllyic, historic islands. Ditto for great stories on the cool restaurant/bar scene in Istanbul.
Riots and protests in the streets of Istanbul the last few days, however, could put a damper on things. In case you've missed it, protestors have been taking to the streets to demonstrate against a government plan for a shopping mall on bustling Taksim Square in Istanbul (see photo at left of the famous Hagia Sophia). Many demonstrators seem to think Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leading the country, which is heavily Muslim but also has a significant Christian population, down the road of Islamization.
The British government has warned its residents to steer clear of demonstration in the country but hasn't issued a travel warning in general for Turkey. The Canadian government's site this morning suggests citizens exercise a strong degree of caution, but it says the same thing about a lot of places in the world, including Thailand. The Canadian site makes no mention of the riots, at least they didn't as of Monday morning on June 3.
Istanbul's riots probably aren't helping the city's bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. But International Olympic Committee types are used to unrest all over the globe and I doubt the riots are making much of an impact. The vote is a couple months away (Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires), so there's plenty of time to get the demonstrations in the city's rear view mirror...
JAPAN AIMS HIGH
The Japanese government is hoping to triple its tourism numbers in the next 17 years; an ambitious target.
A story in the Japan Times says the government wants to "ramp up promotional activities: and increase visitor spending from 1.3 trillion Japanese yen in 2010 to 4.7 trillion yet in 2030. They also want to boost travel industry-related jobs from 250,000 in 2010 to 830,000 in 2030.
Interesting to note that Tokyo is bidding against Istanbul for the 2020 Summer Games, as is Madrid.
I've been to Tokyo twice and enjoyed it immensely. It's a huge and bustling place, for sure, but the food is tremendous and the attention to detail is remarkable. There are gorgeous temples in the city and beautiful parks with traditional architecture. Not to mention wonderful hotels and great transit and wickedly good bars and nightlife and super friendly people.
I've also spent some time checking out the endless temples in and around Kyoto, including the majestic Heian-jingu Shrine, the fabulous Kiyomizu-dera Temple and, out away from town, the Arashiyama Daihikaku Sensoji Temple. The latter is, or was when I was there, a rather ramshackle but utterly delightful spot. It sits on a small hill overlooking a river, just a few minutes walk from the sumptuous Hoshinoya ryokan/inn, one of the best places I've ever stayed.
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