The Chairperson, Firuz Baglikaya, of the TURSAB (Turkish Travel Agencies Association) recently confirmed that whilst tourist demands from European countries fell last year during the coronavirus pandemic, UK visitors continued to travel. If the pandemic continues in the same vein, large number of holidaymakers from the UK are expected this year too.
UK Travel Restrictions
Baglikaya spoke about UK travel restrictions, which is one of the main Turkish tourism markets, and how the restrictions are due to be lifted in four stages starting from March 8.
In accordance to the plan by Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, all pandemic restrictions are expected to have been lifted completely by June 21. Baglikaya said that international travel restrictions will remain in force until May 17, even though the assessments about safe travel will be broadcasted on April 12. This is necessary as it is felt that this will give certainty for people wanting to make plans for their summer holidays, giving them plenty of time to plan and make their reservations. The statements from the UK have buoyed the tourism industries in both Turkey and the UK.
Baglikaya confirmed: “We are closely following the developments in Britain thanks to the information provided by the tour operators. Tour operators in the UK market said they expect a boom in demand for vacation bookings for summer. Turkey is among the top destinations for UK travellers.” He also confirmed that the top destinations for the tourists from Britain include the resort towns of Marmaris, Kalkan, Kas, Oludeniz, Fethiye, Sarigerme, and Gocek along the Mediterranean coast.
Since the pandemic, Turkey has also seen an increased demand for yacht tourism as well as caravan and camping trips. Baglikaya also said that although July, August and September were the months that reservations from the UK are highest, the season in 2021 is expected to continue until the end of November.
The COVID-19 vaccination
The main factor that is said to save the tourism industry is going to be the vaccination process. 100 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Turkey by the end of May, meaning that most of the people in Turkey are expected to have been vaccinated before the tourism season starts. Due to this, Turkey will be amongst the countries with the lowest risk of infection, which will be a huge plus for the tourism industry.
Baglikaya said: “We are expecting that the foreign visitors’ number will reach 20 million.” When the Turkish citizens that live abroad are also added to this figure, the number is expected to rise to 25 million with a revenue of 20 billion USD.
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