Turkey tourism revenues could hit $15bn amid virus
Turkish travel and tourism last year made $34.52bn
Turkey’s tourism sector could make in excess of US$15 billion in revenues this year despite the cataclysmic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Anatolian Tourism Operators Association chairman Birol Akman, the country’s tourism industry has been recovering slowly, with international visitors numbers starting to pick up again. Speaking to state-news agency Anadolu Agency (AA), Akman did concede the country can no longer hit its pre-pandemic goal of 60 million tourists this year.
However, he said that continued social distancing and safety measures will accelerate Turkey’s recovery.
If Turkey’s current trend of increasing arrivals continues, revenues could reach $15 billion by the end of the year, provided the country isn’t hit by a second wave of cases.
According to official figures released last week, Turkey’s most popular tourist destination Antalya welcomed more than one million tourists between January 1 and August 19 from 31 countries. While nearly 300,000 Ukrainians preferred the city for their holiday, 281,000 tourists came from Russia, followed by 221,000 Germans and 85,000 British tourists.
Though $15 billion in Turkey’s pocket would be great news, it’s still far from figures seen last year. In 2019, tourism revenues reached $34.52 billion with close to 52 million tourists flocking to the country. Sunny Antalya alone welcomed more than 15 million holidaymakers last year.
Right now Antalya is seeing 50,000 tourists each day, with 90 percent of the resort city’s hotels open.
“Some might think rules have been loosened in the Mediterranean region, but that’s not true. Inspections continue and health measures are still in place,” he said.
Akman assured that Turkey is a safe place for tourists to travel to. The country’s Tourism and Culture Ministry recently announced a revision to its Safe Tourism Certification Programme which will see Turkish hotels double up as quarantine centres.
Hotels with the certificate are now required to provide those who test COVID-19 positive with an isolation room. Hotels are mandated to reserve one isolation room for every 50 regular rooms. They are also not allowed to accommodate COVID-19-positive visitors with others on the same floor or they must leave at least two rooms next to the isolation room empty.
Hotels that do not follow the new amendments will lose their safe tourism certificate and will no longer be permitted to operate during the pandemic, the ministry said.