Tourism sector welcomes Germany’s greenlight
Turkish tourism officials welcomed Germany’s decision of partially lifting its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey’s four popular summer holiday destinations - the Mediterranean province of Antalya and the Aegean provinces of İzmir, Muğla and Aydın.
“Obviously, this is a late decision but a decision that we expect as a sector and which makes us happy. It will have a positive impact on the Turkish tourism sector,” Müberra Eresin, head of the Hotel Association of Turkey (TÜROB), told Anadolu Agency.
She stressed that the move has boosted morales of the sector players which were adversely hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Eresin underlined that the decision of Germany, which is the dynamo of the EU, will influence the perception of other countries positively.
Turkey set drastic measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, beating its rivals, she noted.
“All areas serving tourism such as hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and coaches received certificates for complying by safety measures and regulations under the Safe Tourism Certification Program,” said Eresin.
PCR test could cause ‘reluctancy’
The Safe Tourism Certification, jointly launched by Turkey’s foreign, tourism and transportation ministries, covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation and health conditions for tourists and hospitality employees alike.
The certificate, issued by international certification institutions, validates the execution of strict health and hygiene requirements at airlines, airports, and other transport facilities, as well as in accommodation outlets and food and beverage venues.
Ülkay Atmaca, head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey (POYD), highlighted the importance of German market for Turkish tourism sector.
“This decision following the U.K. and Russia, albeit late, is very important to us. With a quick recovery, we expect to host high number of German tourists,” Atmaca told Anadolu Agency.
However, the compulsion of showing a negative PCR (virus antigen) test for travelers returning to Germany may create reluctancy, Atmaca said.
Responding to a question about the income mobility the move will generate, Atmaca said: “We should see flight plans and German demand to evaluate the economic effect of the decision.
“At this point, removal of warning is important to us. We will wait for details.”
5 million Germans visited last year
In 2019, Turkey posted record-high tourism revenues with $34.5 billion, according to the country’s statistical authority. The figure rose 17 percent year-on-year in 2019, up from $29.5 billion in 2018.
The country welcomed more than 45 million foreign visitors last year, rising 14.1 percent from the previous year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey was expecting 58 million tourists - domestic and foreign - this year, with more than $40 billion in revenue.
More than 5 million German travelers visited Turkey last year, up 11.4 percent year-on-year, according to official data.
On Aug. 4, Germany partially lifted its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey, greenlighting summer holidays in popular destinations in four provinces.
Following consultations between German and Turkish officials, the German Foreign Ministry updated its advisory against “all but essential” travel to Turkey, saying destinations with low rates of infection such as coastal Antalya, Izmir, Mugla, and Aydin are now exempt.
As a precaution, travelers returning to Germany will be asked to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival.
In March, Berlin issued a global travel warning for its citizens to avoid non-essential travel abroad due to the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on international air travel.
Three months later it lifted its travel warning only for EU and Schengen states, but extended it for all the other countries until the end of August.
Germany’s blanket travel warning was widely criticized by the tourism industry.