Turkey’s tourism is going through hard times

Turkey’s tourism is going through hard times

Turkish tourism sector is going through hard times. World’s sixth most popular travel destination has been dented by waves of travel restrictions and cancellations worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Turkey enjoyed an all-time high in 2019 with over 45 million foreign visitors. The tourism sector is an important source of foreign currency for Turkey, helping to rein in the energy-importing country’s usually wide current account deficit. The country last year managed to log its first current account surplus in 18 years.

But now its tourism sector is heavily hit in the middle of the travel season due to the pandemic which brought along waves of travel restrictions and cancellations.

Many restaurants and shops have closed permanently due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and those still open are struggling to meet ends.

Though some tourists still defy travel warnings, enjoying their vacation in Turkey, many others prefer to stay at home.

Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Chairman Sururi Çorabatır said there has been a significant decline in holiday reservations as many airlines decreased the number of their flights by 50% with the majority of countries.

With the beginning of pandemic worldwide, Turkey adopted some precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus within borders. Tourism sites, entertainment venues and shopping malls were also closed down as part of a total lockdown that the country faced. However, in June, Turkey started easing the measures.

Some new measures have already been adopted in airports and shopping malls such as PCR tests. Meanwhile, wearing masks is obligatory in public places.

Earlier, Turkish tourism minister said Turkey is considered the safest among European countries due to its strict precautionary measures in fight against the pandemic.

So far, over 727 hotels and about 900 restaurants have received the “Safe Tourism Certification” that indicates they had taken standard measures to prevent COVID-19 infections.