Mehmet Nuri Esroy, the Turkish Minister for Culture and Tourism recently announced that the tourism season in Turkey is set to be on hold until the end of May, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that: “Hopefully, we will see that tourism activities will start again during the Ramadan Feast.”
Eid al-Fitr or Ramadan Bayram is the celebration that ends the month of fasting. Eid or Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated this year on May 24, 2020 and is an important religious holiday for Muslims and sees families travelling to celebrate with each other.
Ersoy said that he believes that the first people to arrive in Turkey will be domestic tourists and that Turkey earned 34.5 billion USD in total from tourist activity last year.
Tourist companies in Turkey
The minister also explained that those working in the tourism sector should take advantage of help that is being supplied by the government with regards to short-term employment assistance for their staff.
The Turkish government is currently paying salaries for personnel working in sectors where business operations have been suspended either partially or completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Turkish employment agency also reported that: “The amount of the daily short employment allowance is 60% of the daily gross average earning.”
Air travel in Turkey
Esroy has confirmed that he expects flight schedules to return to normal by the end of June. All airlines cancelled most flights to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Esroy also predicted that it will be air traffic from Asia which will open first, then from Russia, then from the Baltics, and finally from Europe. Domestic flights are scheduled to start first.
Currently Turkish Airlines (THY) have extended their flight cancellations further up until May 1, although they do still have limited domestic flights still in service. The budget airline that trades in Turkey, Pegasus Airlines has grounded all their flights until further notice.
COVID-19 around the world
COVID-19 was first recognised in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and has since spread to over 180 countries and their various regions. At the time of publishing, in Turkey alone the virus had claimed the lives of 1,101 people with a total of 52,167 people having become infected with the virus.
According to the U.S based John Hopkins University globally the death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 109,600 with almost 1,790,000 cases recorded and confirmed worldwide. To date it is suggested that over 409,000 people have recovered from the virus.
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