Turkey to ‘certificate’ tourism destinations

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The Turkish government has launched an initiative to certificate coronavirus-free tourism resorts across the country, the culture and tourism minister has said.

“We have started the certification process to determine the coronavirus-free zones under a system,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told a private broadcaster on April 18.

“We will develop it stage by stage. First, we will develop an internationally accepted certification system,” he added, saying that a commission including officials from the health, transportation and agriculture ministries, held its first meeting last week with the coordination of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

“We are planning to include all the NGOs in the commission and conclude the certification system swiftly in the first week of May. Gradually, we will make the tourism facilities to get these certificates until the end of May,” said Ersoy.

The tourism minister also said that he expects domestic tourism traffic to resume in June after a relief from the measures to curb the pandemic towards “normalization” starts in mid-May.

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, he added.

Tourists will be required to show health documents that international authorities have pointed as required.

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

When all these processes are completed, the Turkish government will get into contact with tourist source countries for travel arrangements.

“With deals with other countries, we will start flights under airport-based gradual timetables,” Ersoy said.

“At the first stage, I’m expecting incomings from the Asian countries. In the second stage, Germany and Austria will recover fast,” he added, also saying that tourists from central and northern European countries will follow them.

Russian and British tourists, who traditionally choose Turkey for holidays, can face difficulty to come until the end of July, said Ersoy.

Turkey was targeting a total of 60 million tourists in 2020 before the coronavirus crisis.

Turkey attracted a record number of visitors with 51.9 million people in 2019, according to official data.

The country’s tourism revenues also hit $34.5 billion in 2019, a new record high, according to statistical data.

The figure jumped 17 percent last year, up from $29.5 billion in 2018, TÜİK said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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