Tourists, mostly from Russia and Ukraine, have started to arrive in Turkish resorts and visits will accelerate from mid-April, said Firuz Bağlıkaya, the head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).
“Including Turkish citizens residing abroad, we expect robust visitor numbers this year, generating tourism income between $20 billion and $25 billion,” he said.
Last year, roughly 12.6 million foreigners entered Turkey amid the pandemic, generating $12.6 billion in tourism revenues.
Turkey hosted a record number of foreign visitors – 45 million tourists and 7 million Turks residing abroad – in 2019 when the country earned nearly $35 billion in tourism revenues.
After strict lockdowns and travel restrictions in the first months of the pandemic last year, Turkey launched a Safe Tourism Certification Program in June 2020. As part of the program, hundreds of hotels, restaurants, museums, travel agencies and other hospitality sector firms were certified to be inspected regularly.
The program’s scope has been extended since then, Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Nadir Alpaslan said last month, adding that the program aimed to provide a zero-risk atmosphere for tourists with strict health and hygiene measures.
“In 2021, we are expecting to host 34 million foreign visitors in our country with a rise of 100 percent from last year,” he said.
In the new tourism season, which will start next month, Turkey expects strong demand from Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Britain and the Netherlands, Alpaslan said.
Hurriyet Daily News