We do not have any official cases of the virus in Kalkan but Covid-19 is still making a huge difference to the lives of locals and visitors alike.
In this report we tell you how two couples spent time and energy planning for their big day in Kalkan only for Coronavirus to come out of the blue to put a spanner in the works.
And we estimate the economic impact on Kalkan.
Getting married in Kalkan
Over recent years Kalkan has developed a reputation as a wonderful place to get married. The wedding tourism business is important to Kalkan.
Kalkan is the perfect location with sunny days and blue skies, luxury villas, amazing food, a warm and friendly ambience plus very capable professionals who can deliver on all the important details for your big day.
Happy couples with dreams of a romantic and stylish place to celebrate their special day have everything they could need, plus a stunning backdrop to give the Wow! factor.
And even with flight costs it can be much kinder on your budget than a UK wedding.
The average cost of a wedding in the UK is £32,000. In Kalkan it’s about a third of that figure.
Ursula and Ferdi’s story
"We were due to get married in Kalkan on 1st July this year at villa Mavi Köy - staying there for a week and then our second week mini moon at the Pier apartments.
We would have had 80 guests at the wedding; 35 from the UK and the rest from turkey travelling from all over as my partner is Turkish.
My partner and I both realised fairly early on in March that the pandemic was serious and became reconciled to the fact then that we would not be getting married this year.
I work in the travel industry myself so checking all the updates and information on travel I just had a feeling.
We felt disheartened and totally stressed out, more so for our guests as we didn’t know if to amend the wedding or wait until flights were actually cancelled and didn’t want our guests to lose out on any money.
Luckily our wedding planner has been so helpful, discussing different options and she was so supportive in our decision to rebook for September 2021.
The worst thing was feeling so bad for all businesses involved in our wedding in Kalkan, but we feel very appreciative that they all agreed to transfer deposits over to next year.
Whilst it has been a stressful time and we are sad that we are not getting married this year we are both just staying positive and really looking forward to next year which we know will just be even more special and worth the wait."
Kayleigh and Jake’s story
"We started 2020 filled with excitement at entering the year of our wedding at Likya Hotel in Kalkan and couldn’t wait to bring our friends and family to our ‘happy place’ to share our special day and create wonderful holiday memories.
We were enjoying pulling all the strands together with our wedding planner; at no point did we consider the wedding not happening on 27th June.
When news of Covid-19 first hit the headlines we thought there was plenty of time before the wedding and that we had no need to worry.
But as time went by the uncertainty grew and we began to think the unthinkable. Every day there was another question or a new concern.
We couldn’t make the decision to cancel/postpone too soon because all of our guests may have had difficulty in getting refunds on accommodation and flights. But to wait could have meant letting everyone down at the last minute.
We felt so anxious about the position our guests were to be placed in and the impact Covid-19 was having on our precious Kalkan never left our minds.
As we hit the beginning of May we talked with our wedding planner and made the decision to postpone our special day, as there were simply too many things stacking against us and this was the only control we could take of the situation.
Whilst this left us desperately sad, we made peace with the decision and instead started to focus on the positives.
The support that the villa owners and hoteliers showed all of us as we began moving dates was second to none; a testament to the spirit of Kalkan people. This compassionate response has left our guests more excited than ever for their first visit to Kalkan.
After Thomas Cook being the first hurdle and Covid-19 the second we are now hoping third time lucky and so now the countdown to our big day on 24th June 2021 begins again."
Impact on the Kalkan economy
Postponing a wedding is obviously disappointing for any couple but there is also an impact on the local economy.
We spoke to Rosie Özçelik who runs Kalkan Concierge, the only wedding planning business based in Kalkan and we asked her about the impact of Coronavirus this year.
Below: Rosie Özçelik - proprietor of Kalkan Concierge
Rosie told KTLN, “The effect of Coronavirus on our lives has been unprecedented. For couples planning a wedding in Kalkan in 2020, the current situation has presented many questions and concerns about how their wedding day will be affected and indeed, if it will go ahead at all.”
She continued, “Despite the recent relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel the uncertainty of the situation has meant most wedding couples have already made the difficult decision to postpone their celebration until 2021. You have heard from Ursula and Ferdi, and Kayleigh and Jake just how upsetting it has been.”
Rosie explained how weddings involving foreigners contribute massively to the local economy. “It has been necessary to postpone or cancel almost all weddings this year. Usually each wedding has at least fifty guests and in some cases there have been more than one hundred.”
“Quite apart from the actual wedding budget itself, each guest has their own budget to spend on their holiday in Kalkan. This loss of income hits many businesses: transfer companies; accommodation; boat trips; restaurants; jewellers and not forgetting florists and wedding photographers”.
Wedding tourism - a ten million lira Kalkan business
It’s impossible to pin down an actual figure but from KTLN’s own research we estimate that the weddings of foreigners contribute in excess of £1 million (about 10 million TL) per annum to the local economy.
To give you some idea of numbers Kalkan Concierge has organised over 200 events over the previous twelve summers, and the number of Kalkan weddings has been steadily increasing over recent years.
The postponement or cancellation of almost all weddings involving foreigners this year, and the associated loss of income is bound to have an impact on local businesses.
In calculating the above figure we have not taken in to consideration foreign tourists who come to Kalkan to renew wedding vows, honeymoons and wedding anniversary parties.
Nor have we looked at weddings of local Turkish people, which will obviously be significant in their own right. Our focus has been on wedding tourism in Kalkan.
Looking back and ahead to happier days
The majority of this year’s weddings have been moved forward with just a few outright cancellations.
The wedding couples that we interviewed are focused on their re-scheduled wedding days.
For Ursula and Ferdi, and for Kayleigh and Jake their day in the sun will come and we are sure that it will be as amazing as they imagine it will be.
As they look forward let us share with you an example of how things are meant to be, with Sarah and Nick who got married in Kalkan last year.
Sarah and Nick's big day in 2019
Sarah told KTLN, “Getting married in Kalkan was always our plan as Nick and I met there. We could not think of a more beautiful place.”
“Having been in the wedding business for over 20 years organising my own wedding was a natural thing for me to do. We wanted to support all of our Kalkan based friends and their businesses. They were all magnificent and could not have been more helpful”
“We found an ideal venue, Mavi Koy Villa so we could get married with the stunning backdrop of the turquoise sea and a priceless sunset. With 130 guests, mostly from the UK our goal was to showcase Kalkan and create lasting memories and friendships for us and our guests. Many of them were seeing Kalkan for the very first time.
It was actually more of a ‘wedding week’ than a wedding day, with events and get togethers every night leading up to the big day. By the time the wedding arrived everyone knew each other and it created an unforgettable wedding day atmosphere .
We created so many beautiful memories, and friendships that will now last a lifetime. Kalkan for a wedding? Never in doubt!
Below: A few more photos from Sarah and Nick's wedding day.
KTLN would like to thank Rosie Özçelik from Kalkan Concierge for her assistance in putting this report together.
Also thanks to Ursula and Ferdi, Kayleigh and Jake and Nick and Sarah for taking the time to provide input. We wish them every happiness for the future.
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