Portraits of Van – Nearly all of Van’s civic and business leaders share the same opinions, and speak of the same hardships. Zahir Kantasoglu, President of the Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says “”We have no hope for Van other than tourism.””
Mr. Kantasoglu continues: “”4s everybody knows the curse of terrorism existed here for 20 years. Van’s folk and merchants lived through great hardship. Actually, nothing ever happened in the city of Van to damage tourism, but unfortunately no one even gave a thought to the region. During the years of 1919- 1980. When Van’s population was 150 000. The annual number of visitors was between 160 000 and 180 000, and people spoke about Van before they spoke about Antalya.
The Silk Road
Portraits of Van – We were very hurt when only 3 000 people visited our city last year, and the fact that things are picking up this year is pleasing. Van is a centre for tourism, we have tried hard to develop industry, but it just never took hold. Now, we are working together with our Governor to promote tourism, and as part of this effort, we have attended two fairs: prepared CDs and launched a project called “”The Silk Road””.
We have also cleaned up the area around Van Castle, and special lighting has been installed at both Van and Hosap Castles. The TURSAB President, Mr. Ulusoy, visited our Chamber and attended a regional meeting, where everyone from the various civic societies and NGOs (non-governmental organisation) shared their opinions and ideas with him. But, we haven’t seen any support from the Ministry of Tourism, and Lake Van has not been added to anyone’s agenda. Our biggest frustration is that the politicians have remained unresponsive to the region.””