By Behcet Alkan
A total of 329,390 tourists enjoyed a bird’s-eye-view of famous tourist spot of Cappadocia in Turkey’s central Nevsehir province with hot air balloon rides in 2017.
According to a data gathered by Anadolu Agency from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the number of tourists, who took the hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia, increased by 32 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.
There are 25 hot air balloon agencies in Cappadocia, where a total of 19,843 balloon tours were organized in 2017, according to the data.
The hot-air balloon tour price is ranging from €100 ($122) to €150 ($184) depending on the duration.
Last year, Turkey earned nearly €43 million ($48.6 million) from balloon tours, compared to the previous year's income worth €33 million ($36.6 million).
The average euro/dollar exchange rate was 1.11 in 2016 while one euro traded for 1.13 U.S. dollar on average last year.
A balloon agency owner, Tevfik Olmez on Wednesday told Anadolu Agency that they expect more tourists in 2018. “Cappadocia is the place, where commercial balloon flight is intensively made.”
Olmez said the region has "magnificent" land surface view.
"Depending on the meteorological conditions, 100-150 balloons can make daily flights," he added.
Halil Atay, a balloon pilot, on Wednesday told Anadolu Agency that the balloons create "visual feast" in Cappadocia.
"Even though balloon tours can be held in different places, Cappadocia is a unique place with its weather conditions and panorama for this organization," Atay added.
Cappadocia is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is famous for its chimney rocks, hot air balloon trips, underground cities and boutique hotels carved into rocks.
To get the authentic experience, tourists from all over the world prefer to experience Cappadocia’s landscapes and peak-like rock houses.
Keeping the hot air balloon tour guides under strict control offer tourists comfort, safety and contribute to the region`s economy.
The hot air balloons are also being tracked by a GPS system, allowing the speed limit and distance of the air balloons to be detected.