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Germans return to Turkey as travel advisory lifts

Turkey has always been a favourite with German visitors. Last year, five million Germans travelled to Turkey, with most visitors concentrated on the south coast, especially Antalya and Fethiye.

This year's summer holidays have been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, but this week there was good news for Germans craving some Mediterranean sunshine. On August 4, Germany partially lifted its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey, opening the door for summer holidays in the favourite spot.

The travel advisory against "all but essential travel" hasn't been completely lifted, however. The German government has identified destinations with low rates of infections, like Antalya, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin.

Read more: inside the incredible work of Turkey's covid "detectives"

As a cautionary measure, travellers returning to Germany will be required to present a negative virus antigen test, no more than two days before arrival.

In March, Berlin issued a worldwide warning for its citizens, instructing them to eschew all non-essential travel abroad due to the covid-19 outbreak. Three months later, its travel warning was lifted for the EU and Schengen states, but other countries had to wait a little longer.


A welcome move

Germany's decision has been welcomed by Turkish tourism officials.

Head of the Hotel Association of Turkey Muberra Eresin told Andalou Agency that the move would help boost morale and would influence other countries to follow suit.

"Obviously, this is a late decision but a decision that we expect as a sector and which makes us happy. It will have a positive impact on the Turkish tourism sector," Eresin said.

Turkey has implemented strict measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, she said. 

This included a requirement for all tourism facilities, like hotels, restaurants and even buses, to obtain certificates demonstrating they met regulations under the Safe Tourism Certification Program.

Head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey Ulkay Atmaca said Germans made up a critical part of Turkish tourism.

"This decision following the UK and Russia, albeit late, is very important to us. With a quick recovery, we expect to host high number of German tourists," Atmaca told Anadolu Agency.

Last year, Turkey posted record tourism revenues of US$34.5 billion, according to the country's statistical authority. This was 17% higher than 2018 revenues.

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