Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Culture and Tourism Minister recently announced that since July 1, coronavirus testing centres will be in place at the busiest airports in Turkey, with all other airports following suit by July 15.
The coronavirus pandemic bought worldwide travel to a standstill, but with case numbers dropping in Turkey, the country is trying to coax tourists back by ensuring all steps are taken to stop any further outbreaks. Turkey has also introduced certifications for establishments to provide tourists with extra peace of mind.
Turkey has already welcomed some visitors and they are set to see numbers increase as more countries lift travel restrictions.
Healthy Tourism Certificates
The Culture and Tourism Minister has joined forces with the Foreign Ministry to launch the, “healthy tourism certificate” which is Turkey’s idea to convince tourists that the beaches and historical places will be safe for them to visit despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The certificates encompass a wide range of precautionary measures in accommodation, transport, and health conditions for both tourists and those working in hospitality. Granted by the international certification institutions, the certificate confirms that any establishment has met exemplary standards of hygiene and health requirements.
Testing Centres at Airports
The first COVID-19 testing centres opened on July 1, which are in place at Istanbul airports, the city of Antalya, Izmir and Dalaman, with further airports due to have testing in place by July 15. The cost of the test is 115TL (15 euros) and the results will be processed within two hours. The results will also be shared with local health centres and tourists will be able to undergo further tests should they wish.
Turkish tourism goals
Turkey sent documents containing information of the measures they have in place to the top 100 countries that attract the most tourists, as well as inviting the ambassadors from 60 of these countries to Antalya. Ersoy announced that: “Turkey pursues its 2023 goals to attract 75 million tourists and gain 65 billion USD of income and it will achieve this.”
Data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry stated that the number of foreign visitors in Turkey fell by 66.35% due to the coronavirus pandemic from January to May, compared with visitor numbers at the same time last year.
Turkey is in talks with the top visitor countries Russia, Britain, and Germany who have also been hit hard by the coronavirus. Those travelling from the UK are able enter Turkey and return to the UK without quarantining. Russia has been hit hard by the virus and Turkey is hoping that Russian tourists will be able to start flying by the middle of July. Whilst Germany has a travel warning currently in place.
Tourism industry set to resume
The foreign Minster Cavusoglu has spent time discussing the normalisation of the tourist industry with his counterpart in Spain. Diplomatic sources have confirmed that Cavusogla and Arancha Gonzalez Leya have discussed the way both countries have been hit by COVID-19 and how they can kickstart tourism. Spain is doing everything it can to assure tourists that cases of coronavirus are dropping daily and therefore the borders can reopen.
Ersoy also announced that more public beaches in Antalya on the Mediterranean coast are now open. The start of June saw the introduction of Turkey’s unique certification process. Esroy said that: “The certification program includes periodic inspection. We also have a secret guest audit program, such as an unexpected guest.” This sees an inspector making a reservation and staying in a hotel prior to writing their inspection report.
Currently there are over 900 restaurants and 730 hotels that have made applications to be granted the “safe tourism” certificate which will prove that they have satisfied the criteria to prevent COVID-19 infections.
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