Turkey: Winter wonderland attracts 1.3M tourists

– Local, foreign tourists flock to hot springs, ski resorts, historical and natural attractions of Erzurum in eastern Turkey

By Ilhami Erkilic

ERZURUM, Turkey (AA) – Erzurum, a winter wonderland in eastern Turkey, hosted more than 1.3 million tourists last year, provincial authorities said Wednesday.

The province achieved its million-tourist target set last year with its historical sites, hot springs and ski resorts.

Its ski resort on the slopes of Mount Palandoken is a majestic wintry hinterland.

Palandoken offers paragliding, night skiing with its state-of-the-art lighting system, ski jumping ramps and shooting ranges for biathlon.

Moreover, the popular ski resort is only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the city center.

Cemal Almaz, head of the provincial culture and tourism authority, said that Erzurum has now become famous for its tourist attractions all year around.

"Our new annual target is hosting 1.5 million tourists," Almaz said.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara