Environmentalists want jeep safaris banned

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Environmentalists in the tourist resort of Marmaris have applied to the local administrator’s office and the Muğla governor’s office seeking a ban on jeep safaris.

In response, organizers of the safaris have argued more regulations should be applied instead of an outright ban.

Jeep safaris are a well-known attraction in Turkey’s tourism regions, where tourists travel around rural areas in jeeps. They usually visit traditional villages, followed with off-road trips to lakes, mountains and canyons.

The Marmaris Environment Advocates Association, or MEAA’s, chairwoman, Filiz Ersan, told the Anatolia news agency that jeep safaris belonged in the deserts. “Most of the safari organizers do not obey the very basic security rules,” she said. “The water wars are very dangerous; the accident that results in the deaths of two tourists in Augusts in Fethiye proves this.”

Two British citizens, Jonathan Pearce, 38, and his daughter Charley, 8, died in a traffic accident on Aug. 18, when the driver of a safari jeep crashed the car during a water fight with local kids.

Ersan said they have also been receiving complaints from the village heads. “The cars used are very old, they pollute the environment a lot. In addition, as the tourists are allowed to smoke in the cars, they pose a great forest fire threat.”
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