On 4 January 2016, ticket prices to many museums and archaeological sites in Turkey were significantly increased. On the one hand, it is an economically justified move, since Turkish lira has recently been depreciated against the euro and the US dollar. On the other hand, this decision has caused discontent and many protests, especially among the representatives of the Turkish tourism sector. They fear that high ticket prices will deter tourists from visiting the most popular places in Turkey, including - Pamukkale and Ephesus. Also, the largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament, i.e. CHP, issued a request to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mahir Ünal, urging him to cancel the decision.
How much do we have to pay for the tickets to Turkish museums and archaeological sites? The most expensive tickets, not surprisingly, are to the places most frequented by tourists. For the privilege of visiting Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, as well as the ruins of Ephesus, we will pay 40 TL. In the case of Topkapı Palace also an additional fee for entrance to the harem was raised (25 TL), and in Ephesus - for the tour of famous Roman villas on the hillside (20 TL).
The ticket to the Pamukkale - Hierapolis complex is only slightly cheaper, at the price of 35 TL. For 30 TL you can visit the Castle of St. Peter in Bodrum, with splendid collections of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, the Open Air Museum in Göreme and Kaymaklı underground city in Cappadocia, and the Kariye Museum i.e. the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora. Increased ticket prices are also valid for such hits of Turkish cultural tourism as the ruins of Aspendos (25 TL), the Roman theater in Side (20 TL), the ruins of Perge (25 TL), and the Acropolis of Pergamon in Bergama (25 TL).
Will the rise in ticket prices help the Turkish budget? Or maybe, as the workers of the tourism sector fear it will result in a further decline of interest in this travel destination? Certainly, the travellers who come to this country specifically for cultural tourism will pay for the privilege of visiting Ephesus or the Hagia Sophia. However, many holidaymakers who treat sightseeing as an addition to sunbathing will probably think twice before paying more for tickets to Aspendos or seriously reflect on the necessity of a trip to Pamukkale.
We wonder what your opinion is: was this decision right in the light of the current situation of the tourism sector in Turkey? Are you ready to pay as much as 65 TL for visiting the Topkapı Palace and its Harem? We are waiting for your opinions! A detailed list of prices of admission tickets is available for downloading in the form of a spreadsheet from the website of TÜRSAB organization.