Published on : Monday, May 11, 2020
On Sunday, Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced that Turkey is planning to revive its tourism industry by establishing hygiene measures and requirements in preparation to welcome tourists after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. He also informed that people would be allowed to travel within the country towards the end month.
The country has decided to take gradual steps to come out of travel restrictions. It is also expecting to resume international flight operations in June. The government has also developed a certification program for hotels and restaurants which are to be subjected to strict regulations. The program has 132 criteria that ensure following hygiene regulations and maintaining social distancing measures.
Staff members will also be trained in measures that require to be undertaken in order to prevent the spread of infection. Staff members have been given the responsibility bring meals and drinks to guests. Buffet meals permitted but guests would not be allowed to help themselves.
The government has also published an overview of the hospitals available in areas popular among tourists, and listed their capacities. Turkey is gradually easing measures imposed to restrict the spread of the coronavirus disease. The number of towns and provinces under curfew came down from 31 to 24. Individuals over the age of 65 were also allowed outside for a few hours.
Tourism is one of the key contributors to Turkey’s economy. More than 45 million foreign tourists arrived in the country in 2019, which was an increase from the 39.5 million recorded in 2018. Turkey expected approximately 58 million visitors this year which is now unlikely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, around 4.24 million foreign visitors arrived in the country in the first quarter of the year. This records a 22.1% year-on-year drop amid worldwide travel restriction due to the pandemic.
As reported by the Turkish Statistical Institute, the country has also seen an 11.4% decline in its tourism income in the January-February period, dropping to $4.1 billion. However, the tourism minister is of the opinion that around 63 million tourists might be expected in 2021, if the coronavirus situation is put under proper control.