The problem of hassling in the resort town of Marmaris is so big even the local tourism director refuses to walk on the street.
“Hanutçuluk,” the Turkish term used for people who hector visitors to shop or eat at their establishments, has long been the main source of complaints by foreign tourists to the country.
“I cannot walk on the street, I get annoyed, I’ve started to get aggressive,” said Marmaris Culture and Tourism Director Burhan Coşkun. “How can you block someone 50 times just to sell a plate of food? I cannot walk near the marina with my wife. Actually, she does not walk with me, because I get aggressive when I witness such things,” he said.
Marmaris will not succeed in tourism until the hassling problem is solved, said Coşkun. “The tourists do not want to leave their hotels so as not to be hassled in the bazaar; that is why the British tour operators offer all-inclusive holiday packages.”
The director said he even saw a barber in the town center, who walked up to a tourist couple shouting “I will shave you,” terrifying them.
“The women told her husband to get in and have a shave, just to be safe,” said the director.
Şükrü Ayyıldız, the chairman of the Marmaris Chamber of Craftsmen, said cooperation was needed to solve the problem. “We have educated a total of 4,200 people in the last couple of years, but new people come every year,” he said. “All institutions should cooperate on this. If every residential building can get a license to open a bar or a restaurant, we cannot solve it. We must have fewer businesses in Marmaris.” Marmaris Mayor Ali Acar said “hanutçuluk” was a source of shame for the popular resort town. “No one will respect the rules in a town that lacks state authority,” he said. “The shops that have ‘hanutçus’ can be shut down from three days up to 30 days as a punishment. The police should file official reports for such businesses.”
Source: Hurriyet Daily News