Usually to secure a sun bed on the beach in the popular holiday resort of Antalya tourists would have to get out of bed before dawn. However, due to the coronavirus the best beach spots are still available well into the late morning.
Tourism sector in Turkey
Last year the tourism sector welcomed an all-time high of 50 million foreign visitors. With restrictions beginning to be lifted around the world, Turkey is doing everything that it can to save what they can by luring tourists back for the summer season.
Turkish Tourism Ministry
The Turkish Tourism Ministry arranged a press trip, with journalists reporting that luxury hotels in Turkey are encouraging social distancing by having clear floor markings, disinfectant hand gel available at the entrance of restaurants and elevators, as well as having hotel staff wear protective facial coverings. In an interview, Tourist Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy confirmed that: “We have taken strict measures to protect our employees and tourists. Turkey is the best prepared country to welcome visitors.”
Safe Tourism Certificates
The minister recently announced the “safe tourism certification” process, which is awarded to establishments that meet a stringent process to prove they can accommodate customers safely. There are approximately 500 establishments that have been awarded the certificate and within the next month it is hoped that this figure will reach over 2,000.
To earn the certificated status, hotels must have a separate area where tourists who test positive for coronavirus can be isolated. The president of the Federation of Turkish Hoteliers (TUROFED) said: “We had to reconfigure our establishments. Despite these additional expenses, we will not increase prices.”
The government in Turkey have also introduced a health insurance scheme that is available to all tourists when they arrive in Turkey. The insurance is designed to cover hospital expenses for any patients with COVID-19. The insurance costs 26 USD.
Airport safety measures
Thermal cameras are in place in airports and take passengers temperatures. There is a centre at Istanbul Airport that can carry out 20,000 tests for coronavirus daily, as well as a quarantine room. Other airports in Turkey are going to be equipped with test centres by July 15.
Increase in foreign visitors
Turkey is beginning to welcome foreign tourists slowly and numbers are expected to increase steadily as countries begin lifting their restrictions on international travel. It is expected that flights from all countries will be available by the end of August. The number of arrivals will be dependent on the home country of the visitor. Turkey is currently sending data regarding virus cases to Germany daily and have invited delegates from Russia to see the measures hotels in Turkey have in place. Ersoy remains optimistic despite all the difficulties the country has faced, saying: “Bookings for 2021 are piling up, tourists have not forgotten Turkey.”
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