They were welcomed with flowers, good cheer and a traditional water salute.
On Monday, Bodrum-Milas International Airport welcomed 212 passengers who had travelled from Moscow. When the Azur Air flight touched down, it was greeted by a traditional water salute, applause and flowers.
Bodrum Airport general manager, Iclal Kayaoglu said he was happy to welcome the summer's first visitors. He added that all precautions to keep travellers safe against Covid-19 were being taken.
"We’re working to provide a safe and comfortable travel experience. While the uncertainties around travel restrictions persist, we are hoping to increase our passenger traffic this season compared to 2020. We’re looking forward to welcoming our guests from all around the world.”
Turkey's tourism industry has its collective fingers firmly crossed for a decent 2021 season to make up for the loss of bums-on-seats last year.
With most travellers not requiring a vaccination to visit the country, it's likely that the country's beaches and tourist hot-spots will soon fill up with travellers looking to make up for lost time this year.
2021: a year of safe tourism
To help keep travellers safe, Turkey has rolled out a "Safe Tourism Certification Program”, which hotels and other tourist facilities can opt into. The certification demonstrates that these locations have met a series of requirements around hygiene and cleaning to ensure their staff as well as their visitors are healthy.
The scheme also provides testing facilities for tourists, who can obtain test results before departing for home. The tests cost approximately €30 and are also available at Turkey’s international airports.
The initiative also offers tourists visiting Turkey an insurance package, starting at €15, which covers Covid-19 related expenses like treatment, medication and any emergency care.
Despite a recent spike, Turkey's vaccination program is well underway, with priority given to employees at hotels, airports and other tourist facilities, ahead of the tourism season.
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Minister of Culture and Tourism for Turkey, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming tourists with open arms, as we did safely last summer. We have world-class border processes in place for ensuring travel will be low-risk throughout Turkey.
“To ensure our visitors can enjoy a safe and healthy holiday at all stages of their trip, we will continue to invest in the ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’ which we launched in 2020. We have expanded the scope this year and made it compulsory for hotels and other accommodation facilities with 30 rooms or more. More than 8000 facilities have been certified so far.”
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