Published on : Thursday, May 21, 2020
Turkey is hopeful to revitalize its tourism sector in the coming weeks by executing a strict plan. However, the number of visitor as well as revenues will decline in the new normal and have a major effect on the economy in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals explained recently.
Between late May to mid-June, Turkey hopes to resume domestic tourism and international tourism services, culture and tourism minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said last week.
“I hope tourism will start with some tourism mobility domestically by May 28,” he said, speaking to broadcaster NTV. “We also expect international tourism to start with some countries after mid-June,” Ersoy added.
Asian countries, including China and South Korea might be the first destinations, he noted.
Ersoy also emphasized that Turkey has set up a detailed certification program for hotels over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“It (the certification program) was the first in the world, and the EU also decided to initiate a similar one,” the minister stressed.
According to official data, last year, the annual tourism revenue of Turkey went up to an all time high, hitting 34.5 billion U.S. dollars with a total of 45 million arrivals. Tourism revenues account for 10 percent of the gross domestic product of the country. Thus, it’s extremely significant for the already poor economy, which has like all the virus affected countries in the world been impacted by the pandemic.
Before the outbreak of the virus, Ankara had targeted 58 million tourists and 41 billion dollars. Now, these targets are improbable to meet.
“If we could meet over half of this target, I believe it would be a success. The year started horribly and as this virus is not ready to leave us alone,” Serkan Yagci, a travel agency manager from Ankara, told Xinhua.
“For us as travel agencies, it’s possible the biggest crisis that we had to live through, and we don’t know how domestic and foreign tourists are going to react to the new norms defined by the authorities,” he said.
In the meantime, under the guidance of 132 well-defined and comprehensive steps, the Tourism Ministry has reportedly confirmed that it will recommence tourism against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, Turkey has introduced telephone diplomacy with 70 countries to notify them about the health infrastructure of the country, ensuring them that Turkey is safe for tourism, Ersoy said.
At the entrance of every tourism facility, protective suits and facial masks will be available and body temperatures will be recorded with thermal sensors.
Tourism representatives have explained that standard open buffets, as seen in many all-inclusive hotels, will be suspended. Similarly, group tour will have to cut down the number of tourists to decrease virus risk.