The Nemo Primero in Antalya that is Turkey’s first touristic submarine has made its maiden voyage to much success and media attention. The 20-meter long and 4-meter wide sub holds up to 48 people, including the crew and can dive down 35 metres for passengers to view underwater shipwrecks and the abundance of flora and fauna that has also made Antalya a scuba diving hot spot.
Taking its name from the captain who famously featured in the story of 20,000 leagues under the sea, and owned by IHS Travel and Tourist Fly, the project has been five years in the making. The first designs and plan of action bore fruit in 2012, and a long search for a suitable submarine took the team to Spain in 2015, to buy a renovated, upgraded, and modernised small sub. Originally built in Finland in 1991, this is one of only 30 touristic submarines in the world, so IHS and Tourist Fly are extremely proud to be the first innovators in Turkey.
Officials of the project and region counsellors hope the submarine will accommodate previous holidaymakers to the area as well as attract new ones. Antalya already has a solid reputation in the tourism industry of Turkey, as the second most visited destination in the country. The broad availability of amenities and facilities as well as attractions has also made it the second most popular expat destination, as well as an ideal place for buy-to-let investments in the real estate market. Therefore, it is fitting for a project of this size and magnitude to take place in Antalya.
As the first non-military submarine in Turkey, the project co-ordinators and the submarine itself endured rigorous and intense government checks before they were able to licence, operate, and sell their new adventure to the public. To date, interest has peaked with many people curious to find out more.
Diving from Mice Island, each tour lasts 60 minutes, and the submarine will make six scheduled dives a day. Passengers also receive safety briefings and time to browse through the gift shop before boarding the submarine that has air conditioning and controlled atmospheric pressure to ensure comfort.
The first stop is the shipwreck of St Didier. This French ship, sunk in World War 2 off the coast of Antalya. The transport cargo ship that was carrying jeeps and armoury and other war supplies suffered extensive bombing damage from British planes taking off from Cyprus. The wreckage, previously only seen by experienced scuba divers is now visible to everyone, regardless of their underwater expertise, thanks to the touristic submarine of Antalya.
Antalya accounts for 30% of Turkish tourism, and the region suffered heavily in 2016, with the ban on charter flights from Russia. The reinstatement of those flights has seen Russians return to the area and officials are keen to accommodate everyone with new and exciting attractions. (Read more about the region here.)