Turkey preparing for domestic tourism

Turkey preparing for domestic tourism

Gizem Karakış - ANKARA
Turkey preparing for domestic tourism

Turkey’s tourism season is expected to postpone until after-May period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s culture and tourism minister told daily Hürriyet.

“If we don’t face new problems in the course of events, domestic [tourism] traffic will start at the end of May. The tourism season will open with controlled domestic flights,” said Mehmet Nuri Ersoy on April 25.

“We have set a certification board and we have determined the rules of the hospitality sector. It’s a whole set of detailed rules. We are in contact with the accomodation facility managers,” he said.

The sterilization of tourism transportation vehicles will be done regularly, and transportation personnel will have to get pandemic training after undergoing health checks, according to Ersoy’s remarks.

Airports, hotels, restaurants, museums and archaeological sites will be redecorated in accordance with social distancing rules. Health staff and equipment, including thermal cameras, will be ready onsite.

Besides, health facilities and infrastructure, including intensive care units and ventilators, around tourism resorts will be mapped and documented for presentation to tour operators.

Large hotels will not sell all-inclusive and all-you-can-eat buffet packages anymore, said resort town mayors, hoping that smaller shops and lodging places will attract more customers.

“We expect a tourism revival in our villages such as Söğüt, Selimiye and Bozburun. There will be [high] occupancy at apart-hotels and guesthouses,” said Mehmet Oktay, mayor of the southeastern resort town of Marmaris.

They are considering measures such as cutting the number of sunbeds on the beaches by half, he said.

“We predict that second home owners will arrive first. We may wait for some time for hotel customers,” said Bodrum Mayor Ahmet Aras, warning that crowds will not be allowed at the beaches, night clubs and restaurants in the world-renowned holiday resort.

“We are making preparations for May 15. The number of sunbeds will be limited. Prices can go up. New plans are being made,” said Ula Mayor İsmail Akkaya, adding that only 12 people will be allowed onboard in a Azmak river boat excursion.

Eid al-Fitr, or Ramadan Feast, will be celebrated at the end of this May in 2020.