As the world started to ease the lockdown last month, and try to re-start the tourism industry, which for many contributes to such a huge part of their national GDP, Turkey was one of the first to introduce a ‘Safe Tourism Certification’ program which bought in a series of measures to allow for the safe re-opening of transportation hubs, accommodation facilities and amenities whilst still ensuring that hygiene and the public’s health and safety is of paramount importance, in light of Covid-19.
As the response to the certificate was positive, with many owners signing up within the first few days of the announcement (and it being made obligatory for hotels of over 50 rooms to have the certificate) the tourism season resumed on the 1st July and proved to be a highly successful move, especially in Antalya for example where they received 27,083 visitors between the 1st – 7th July aone. Ulkay Atmaca who is the Chairman of the Professional Hoteliers Association commented that ‘This is a great success for Antalya, and guests from 36 cities of nine countries arrived via charter flights on the 5th July’. He went on to add that ‘For the first time since March, the number of Incoming International flights to Antalya in July, exceeded the number of local flights’.
Still to come for Turkey, and what could in effect help them massively recover after the last four months of lockdown will be the tourists arriving from the UK, Germany and Russia, as if you take the UK for example, there were 2.3m visitors from there in 2018, and over 2.5m in 2019, a huge number that just cannot be ignored. The good news of course, is that they dropped the quarantine rules for Turkey from the 10th July and already since then there have been people slowly starting to arrive. It’s looking increasingly likely also that Turkey will see an increase in numbers arriving more towards the end of July/beginning of August as the lower budget airlines get set to start their flying schedules again.
The other bit of good news is that even the British Ambassador to Turkey, Dominik Chilcott, is highly impressed and working hard behind the scenes to encourage people to visit Turkey again. He commented that ‘I was impressed to see how strictly the measures were being applied at the airports and hotels to ensure the safety of tourists’.
Unfortunately last week even though Germany lifted it’s global travel warning, it did so only for EU member states and Schengen associated countries, plus on top of that the EU decided to exclude Turkey from a list of 15 countries that were recommended for non-essential travel, so there is still some work to be done before all tourists are allowed back in, however, given that German tourists equated to nearly 5m people in 2019, there are calls for both Berlin & the EU to reconsider their decisions and just look at the work & measures that have been put in place, to protect everyone.
For now, Antalya leads the way forward, but the green shoots of recovery are there, so hopefully it won’t be long until Turkey can welcome everyone back, and ‘normality’ can resume albeit under the new measures.
We certainly can’t wait to welcome you back here – and if your trip involves you looking for property whilst you are here, or indeed you fall in love with it when you do visit, be sure to speak with Turkish Connextions for all your property needs!