Brits return to Turkey as UK quarantine axed

The tourists are back. Holiday resorts along Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines are reporting rising tourist numbers after a severe covid-inspired dip. 

And with no need to quarantine on return, the number of British visitors is expected to climb steeply.

Earlier this month, the British government released a list of 59 countries that it had exempted from quarantine rules. The list means that anyone from England, Scotland or Wales no longer has to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK. And visitors from the UK also won't need to quarantine in Turkey.

Tourism pundits expect more than half a million tourists will arrive from the UK this year, arriving on dozens of planned British charter flights. Flights are also travelling from Ukraine, Switzerland and Norway, especially to Antalya.

Read more: What you need to know before your Turkish holiday

Tourism took a major hit in Turkey's coastal areas. Numbers began creeping back in June, with 21,000 tourists arriving in Antalya. This number increased to 27,000 in the first week of July alone. 

For Brits, Fethiye is the resort of choice, with 900,000 arriving at Dalaman Airport. In Fethiye, tourism operators were looking forward to seeing British guests return. 

Hilton Dalaman CEO Tunc Batum said that the hotel occupancy rate in the area is now around 15 percent, but that figure would rise to 55 percent with the anticipated British wave.

It's anticipated that numbers will continue to climb as more countries lift restrictions, such as Germany, whose tourists make up a large share of Turkey's visitor numbers.

Demand for 2021

Diana Travel general manager Burak Tonbul said many tourists were delaying their holiday until next year.

"This year, not everyone has the motivation to go on vacation."

Citing other reasons such as economy or health, some tourists were choosing to book trips for 2021, he said.

However, the steady trickle of tourists is giving operators cause for optimism in the here and now, he said.

From the airport to the beach, strict measures were in place all over Turkey to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Tourists entering the country are temperature tested, with suspected covid cases investigated. At hotels, social distancing measures are in place and staff are upping their PPE and hygiene measures.


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