Serbia welcomes vaccine passport deal with Turkey
BELGRADE- Anadolu Agency
Zoran Markovic said the use of vaccine certificates for travel has started on May 14, and he invited Turkish tourists to Serbia.
"We are expecting Turkish people to visit Serbia and experience hospitality as the two countries recognized each other's COVID-19 vaccine certificates for safe travel," he said.
"My message to Turkish people is "Buyrun" [Come in] to Serbia, "Hoş geldiniz" [Welcome], we are waiting for you, our hospitality is competing with yours, come and check it," he said.
Ambassador Markovic explained the details of the agreement in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
Details of agreement
Markovic said Turkish and Serbian citizens who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a certificate from authorized institutions, can travel between the two countries without testing and quarantine obligations.
"Very simple. Whoever has been vaccinated just needs to bring the certificate. The advantage of our agreement is that children under 18-year-old, who are not vaccinated due to the age limits, are free to travel accompanied by their parents, are free to travel without negative PCR tests as well. This is something that differs from any other similar agreement. Furthermore, I would like to stress that Turkey and Serbia didn't recall a system of validated vaccines in each state. We simply recognized certificates issued by competent state authorities, which means that both states gave priority to health, not to any formalities," said Markovic.
Strong ties between Serbia and Turkey
The ambassador underlined that strong political relations between Serbia and Turkey played an essential role in the decision.
"Of course, strong ties exist, and relations between the two countries are at the best level in history thanks to close relations between President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It became a notorious fact and it is out of the question. The agreement was reached in a telephone conversation between Foreign Ministers Nikola Selakovic and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu," Markovic noted.
Tourism during pandemic
Recalling that Turkey and Serbia were receiving a good number of tourists from each other every year before the pandemic, Markovic said the tourism industry will soon see a recovery.
"You cannot imagine how many phone calls we received in the past 24 hours by people interested in traveling to Serbia or the opposite, to Turkey. Just to remind you, Belgrade was one of the most visited destinations for Turkish tourists. On the other hand, Turkey is a beloved destination for Serbian families with small kids. With the solutions we provided, everybody will be happy. Yes, I truly believe that our tourist industries will recover as soon as possible. I am aware that the tourist industry will recover the fastest, social life will recover, I strongly believe," Markovic said.