Turkey ramps up measures for tourism season
Turkey has tightened measures in the tourism sector for the upcoming season compared with last year, the country’s culture and tourism minister has said, adding that the vaccinations of all professionals working in the industry will be completed by the end of May.
Touting the country’s Safe Tourism Certification program, Nuri Ersoy noted that the criteria to obtain the certificate have expanded to 152 this year from last year’s 136.
According to the minister, officials are inspecting certificate holder hotels four times a month to make sure that those venues meet the necessary criteria.
There are more than 10,000 establishments in Turkey with Safe Tourism Certificates, and these are not only hotels, but also businesses such as airports, airlines and transport companies, Ersoy noted.
“Turkey’s tourism services will be offered in a more controlled and healthier manner compared to last year,” he added.
The infection rate among tourists who visited Turkey and returned to their countries is very low, Ersoy said, citing data from the embassies in Turkey.
The country’s partial or full lockdown since the onset of the coronavirus has never applied to tourists, the minister stressed, adding that foreign holidaymakers will continue to be exempt from lockdown rules.
“They freely tour with their passports, visit museum and archaeological sites. Being a tourist is advantageous in Turkey,” he told reporters during an event held in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya where he met with Ukrainian Culture and Information Policy Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko.
The ministers yesterday attended a sub-working group meeting on Ukraine’s tourist rights and tourism security in the province.
Turkey and Ukraine have forged strong ties in the fields of energy, agriculture and tourism, Ersoy said, adding that the two countries’ tourism development agencies will work even closer from now on.
“We thank Ukraine for its support for the Turkish tourism sector during the pandemic,” he added.
For her part, Tkachenko welcomed Turkey’s certification program and the vaccination of professionals in the tourism sector.
“I had the opportunity to see the measures Turkey is taking personally and visited the hotels with safe tourism certificates and I was very pleased,” she said.
She noted that Turkey is a major destination for Ukrainian holidaymakers. “But it is difficult to estimate how many Ukrainians would visit Turkey this year,” Tkachenko said.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged his fellow citizens to spend their vacation in Turkey in support of Ankara after Russia suspended flights to Turkey due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We must increase tourism activity with Turkey,” Zelenskiy said.
Nearly 1 million Ukrainians visited Turkey last year, accounting for nearly 8 percent of all foreign tourists the country welcomed.
Turkey hosted 1.4 million and 1.6 million Ukrainians in 2018, and 2019, respectively.
In the first two months of 2021, tourist arrivals from Ukraine declined nearly 27 percent on an annual basis to 58,000.