Tourism representatives in Turkey are optimistic about the upcoming tourism season with vaccines being developed by several firms worldwide, including Turkey, boosting morale.
The local sector entered 2020 with high expectations, having just closed a successful 2019 season, but was met with pandemic-induced travel restrictions and lockdown implementations.
Measures put in place in Turkey, mainly the Healthy Tourism Certificate initiative created in cooperation with the state-private sector, have combated the negative impacts of the pandemic to an extent and the country hosted a large number of tourists that exceeded its Mediterranean competitors.
Stating that the sector is hopeful for 2021, Ülkay Atmaca, head of Turkey's Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD), emphasized: "Developments, especially regarding vaccines, raise our hopes for the next season. Every positive news about vaccination reflects positively on the sector. We believe that the vaccine will bring up the tourism from the bottom very quickly.”
Atmaca told Anadolu Agency (AA) Monday that the sector has been through a difficult period in 2020.
However, he said, they attribute greater importance to the number of hotels that kept their doors open rather than the number of tourists coming to the country.
"While the hotels in rival countries were closing, we maintained tourism,” he said, noting: “Being able to do tourism in such a period is a great strength.”
Atmaca stated that the sector's adaptation to new conditions in a short time and the rapid creation of a "safe-healthy" image at home and abroad were important.
He thanked all holidaymakers, especially local tourists, who provided mobility in tourism.
Antalya City Council Tourism Working Group Chairperson Recep Yavuz also said that vaccine developments are being closely followed by the tourism industry.
Stating that the availability of the vaccine gives morale to the sector, Yavuz said, "Not everyone can get vaccinated in a short time, but those who will go on vacation will be willing to vaccinate. Besides, many countries will allow tourists to enter with a vaccination card.”
“The momentum in the tourism industry entirely depends on vaccine-related developments,” he added.
Yavuz noted that they predict the upcoming season will perform somewhere between 2019 and 2020.
He emphasized that in 2021, countries that are safe, credible and capable of health measures will come to the fore.
Rıza Perçin, regional chairperson for west Antalya in Turkey's Travel Agencies Union (TÜRSAB), told AA that they have started to see the positive effects of vaccine studies.
Explaining that vacationers making reservations for the upcoming season are also closely following vaccine developments, Perçin said: “The availability of the vaccine and its increasing use will affect the reservations positively. The vaccine is an extremely important issue for our industry.”
Noting that people have not been able to go on vacation for a long time and miss traveling, Perçin said there will be many people looking for a change in atmosphere once the pandemic is over and they will be open to travel.