The Turkish Tourism Minister has announced that Turkey is launching a COVID-19 certification system that will be internationally recognised and be able to advertise areas that are free of the Coronavirus virus, in the hope that touristic areas and facilities will see a revival.
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Culture and Tourism Minister, confirmed that they have been working closely with other ministries and representatives to establish regulations and guidelines for the certification system. Ersoy said that the ministry intends to hand out the certificates to tourist-based businesses where there has been no contact with the virus and where hygiene and safety measures are all in order.
Recovery of tourism in Turkey
Ersoy also stated that the industry should be able to begin the recovery process in late May with destinations that are popular with domestic tourists, and then inbound tourism to commence again hopefully by the end of the month.
The chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers' Association, Erkan Yagci, confirmed that the certification measures have been well received and welcomed by the travel industry, which is glad to be assisted with guidance for how efforts can be made to normalise the sector in the wave of this current pandemic. The certification is expected to assist hotels and other providers in assuring tourists of their hygiene standards, which is believed to be the most important element when establishments open again.
Recovery trends in Turkey
The head of Turkey's Professional Hotel Managers Association, Ulkay Atmaca said that the industry could expect to see things picking up in time for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is the feast that celebrates the end of Ramadan at the end of May.
Atmaca went on to say that the return of international tourists would be tied to the domestic tourism returning swiftly, he said that: “Domestic travellers need to start vacationing to show foreign tourists that Turkey is a safe and hygienic holiday destination.”
Coronavirus and Tourism
Coronavirus has seen millions of jobs in the global tourism sector put at great risk. Last month the World Travel and Tourism Council said that the pandemic was putting more than 50 million jobs at risk in the industry as it is expected that travel will be down by a quarter in comparison to last year, with the most affected continent expected to be Asia. The industry consultancy Tourism Economics said that there is a high indication that International travel will decrease by 10.5% minimum this year, which will the biggest drop ever.
Support package in Turkey
In March, Turkey announced a stimulus package to support businesses and industries that have been affected by the pandemic. The package is worth TL 100 billion (14.7 billion USD) and will support several companies and sectors by postponing loans, taxes, and paying the salaries of personnel. The accommodation tax for tourism will also be suspended until November to support the sector.
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