Turkey braces for a tourism comeback

Published on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Turkey is establishing hygiene measures and requirements to prepare for the return of tourists, said Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

Step by step, people would be gradually allowed to travel within the country starting from the end of May, said Ersoy. In June, international flights will gradually restart, he added.

The government has developed a certification program for hotels and restaurants which have to follow strict regulations, Ersoy said. The program has 132 criteria, including hygiene regulations that need to be followed and social distancing to be practiced. Staff members would be trained in measures for preventing spread of infection.

Staff would bring people meals and drinks. While buffets would be permitted, guests would not be allowed to help themselves.

The government has also published a catalog of hospitals available in areas popular among tourists, enlisting their capacities.

Tourism is a vital part of Turkey’s economy, with the country having expected 58 million visitors this year. But this is now unlikely due to the ongoing pandemic. Ersoy said that if the coronavirus is brought under control, 63 million tourists might be expected next year.

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey totaled 4.24 million in the first quarter of this year, which is a 22.1% year-on-year drop amid worldwide travel restriction due to the pandemic, as per Culture and Tourism Ministry data.

In 2019, more than 45 million foreigners came to Turkey, going up from nearly 39.5 million in 2018.

Turkey is gradually easing measures imposed earlier for limiting the spread of the virus.

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