Representatives from the tourism industry reported that Turkey has given vaccination priority to those working within the sector, which will keep the country ahead of their competition. Earlier last year, the country implemented strict hygiene and safety measures.
Both the head of (TUROFED), the Turkey Hoteliers Federation Sururi Corabatir, and the Chairperson from (TURSAB), the Turkish Travel Agencies Association, Firuz Baglikaya said that the vaccination rollout to the sector is a decision the sector has been waiting for.
Why vaccinate tourism personnel?
Baglikaya said: “Tourism is the sector that is in contact with foreigners the most. This step also gives confidence to the tourists who will come to our country.”
The head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD) Ulkay Atmaca said: “Before, we had the advantage of a safe tourism certificate. Now we will be one step ahead of our competitors with the vaccination of tourism employees.”
Dependent on the opening date of the facilities, the vaccination process will start with people who are working in facilities that are already back in business. The head of TURSAB said that in accordance with Social Security records, the decision will see approximately 1.1 million workers being vaccinated.
The Safe Tourism Certification Program
Most of Turkey’s hotels have now been given the safe tourism. Muberra Eresin, the Chairperson of the Hoteliers Association of Turkey, confirmed that almost 5,000 facilities have been certified. The certification program covers a wide array of safety precautionary measures in transport, accommodation and health conditions for visitors, and hospitality for their employees. He went on to say that: “Tourists will thus have many points where they will feel safe when they arrive. The demand for our country will also be positively affected.”
Tourism and the Pandemic
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic saw a significant drop in tourists visiting and tourism revenues were reduced by two thirds. Last year, the revenues from the tourism sector dropped by just over 65% year-on-year to 12.06 billion USD, which was significantly lower than 2019 where the sector amassed 34.5 billion USD. Official data states that there were 71.7% less foreign visitors in Turkey last year.
Positive times ahead
Erkan Yagci, the Chairperson of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association, said the decision regarding the vaccination is of major importance particularly as the tourism sector is due to get underway soon. Yagci said that: “In addition to the safe tourism certificate, the vaccination of sector employees will serve as leverage in the demand for our country. It will also positively affect demand during season sales.”
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