Turkey’s tourism sector expects better results this year in the midst of vaccination rollout

Published on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021

After a bleak 2020 troubled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey’s tourism sector expects better results this year in the midst of a vaccination rollout; however, a return to pre-pandemic times still remains unsure, said the industry insiders.

Put off by the corona virus, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey remained 12.7 million in 2020, going down by 71.7 percent from the year before mainly due to global travel restrictions and lockdowns, said the Culture and Tourism Ministry recently.

The Turkish Statistical Institute said that Turkey’s tourism revenue declined by 65.1 percent year-on-year to 12.6 billion U.S. dollars last year.

In 2019, Turkey’s tourism revenue witnessed record high of 34.5 billion dollars with more than 45 million foreign visitors. The southern Mediterranean province of Antalya alone, with its beaches and archaeological sites, witnessed almost 15 million tourists.

“Turkey’s vaccination program is giving us hope, and our morale is higher than last year. We believe that the vaccine will bring up tourism from the bottom rapidly,” said Volkan Yorulmaz, a board member of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey.

“We now have the experience to deal with this pandemic, and we learned from it and perfected our game,” Yorulmaz said.

In mid-January, Turkey launched a mass immunization rollout with China’s vaccine. Till now, more than 7 million people, mostly health professionals and the elderly, have been vaccinated, as per official data.

“We have asked authorities to include tourism sector workers into the inoculation drive before the season starts, in mid-April, to alleviate any concerns that foreign visitors may have regarding Turkey,” Yorulmaz said.
Tourism is important for Turkey as it fetches foreign currency.

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