Allan Totty review 5 Dec 2019
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Cappadocia, the rock formations are interesting in their own right, but the generations of dwellings carved into them really make this region worth visiting.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Unfortunately my tip would be don't book, look for another way to visit Cappadocia and perhaps Pamukkale.
The only exception would be for those who are interested in purchasing very expensive goods (Carpets, leather, jewelry or pottery)
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The vacation mainly benefited the already wealthy large shop and hotel owners. This focus on consumerism cannot be considered positive for the environment, and I did not observe any particular effort to reduce the environmental impact or support conservation.
The travel by bus and flight prevent this trip from hitting high responsibility standards, however the trip missed many opportunities to do better.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
To be frank it was terrible. This is our fifth group tour, and by far the worst, you expect to make compromises but this trip hardly catered for us at all.
We spent hours waiting in car parks while up to half of the group spent thousands on luxury goods. The guide refused to give a leaving time so we couldn't even wonder off and go for a walk, he also commented that we weren't supporting the Turkish economy.
Hotel buffets were used excessively, dietary requirements were not considered, one lunch ended up being crisps and another plain rice. When asked to help the guide replied "all of the food here is fresh" and provided no assistance, we persevered and got some assistance at later stops.
The guide was knowledgeable but shared this knowledge in lengthy monologues seemingly without realising that he wasn't engaging the group, I initially listed mainly as a matter of showing respect, but I stopped bothering as frustration set in. He didn't appear to understand questions and didn't act as a host providing a local experience as we're accustomed to from other companies, only one optional experience was offered and it was $250.
Organisation was poor, the worst example being the airport transfer which they booked for 11:00, then in a couple of calls starting 08:57 we were informed
that we had to take a 09:00 which left while we were on the phone. We ended up taking the 11:00 transfer and made it to the flight with minutes to spare.
Finally at no fault of the tour the various ancient sites sadly aren't well preserved due to a history of earthquakes and excessive use of concrete in restorations, so unless you have an interest in those specific sites then better examples can be found elsewhere in Europe.
Read the operator's response here:
Thanks for taking the time to write feedback on your recent experience on our Anatolian Adventure tour.
I'm sorry to see that you didn't enjoy your time on the tour and that you felt it only warranted a 1-star rating. I am however pleased to see that you did enjoy Cappadocia, we would agree that it's an amazing place and the landscapes and history in the region are like no-where else. Turkey does its best to preserve its other ancient sites, though your point is fair that this is not always done in perhaps the most sympathetic manner.
In your feedback you mentioned that you felt the vacation didn't benefit local people much. We only use local Turkish guides and a small local team of staff and the tour is built around mainly small boutique style and locally owned hotels rather than large international chains. The shopping stops included on the tour also benefit the local economy and shop owners.
Like most tour operators, we do include a limited number of shopping stops on many of our tours, though we do also aim to make these stops as educational as possible which many of our clients do appreciate. There were two stops included on your tour, with a carpet weaving shop & demonstration in Ephesus and a leather shop en-route to Pamukkale. Both of these are major exports for Turkey and while I agree we don't use the smallest shops, everything is from local producers. Managing different people in a group's desires and interest in shopping is always a tricky balance to strike, and I'm sorry if we didn't get it right for you on your tour. As you've mentioned, many people in the group obviously did enjoy these stops and wanted to take advantage of them. It's hard then for the guide to stop this and hurry people on when they are waiting to pay.
Buffet meals are provided to give people a taste of different foods, to help keep costs for our travelers down, and to allow for most dietary requirements to be catered for. We did pass the allergy information on that you gave us and I'm sorry if the hotels did not cater for this well enough.
We do make efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the tour, and intentionally do not include any domestic flights and travel by coach instead. Using trains would unfortunately not help, as this is a circular route and the coach would need to drive the same leg as the train anyway. Most people do obviously have to fly to Turkey to join the tour, but this is unavoidable really.
I'm sorry to hear that there was an issue with your departure transfer. We're happy to hold up our hands here and apologise for the the communication issue in our local office which resulted in confusion over your departure transfer time. I am pleased however that we did still get you to the airport with plenty of time to spare. With an 11am departure you should have reached the airport around midday, which would have given around 2.5 hours before your flight's departure.
Overall, we're sad to see that you didn't enjoy this tour, and that the group and guide wasn't a good fit for you. We normally get very good feedback on our Turkey tours and we're sorry that you didn't have the same positive experience.