Turkey has set itself the target of completing the vaccination of all tourism industry employees before the end of May, Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Nadir Alparslan said Tuesday.
The rollout of coronavirus vaccinations for employees serving in various facilities, including hotels and restaurants as well as travel agencies, started earlier this month.
It marked a major lift for the industry that has been battling with the fallout of the measures to combat the pandemic.
Aviation industry employees have also been receiving their jabs, including pilots and cabin crews.
Speaking at the International Tourism Forum organized virtually by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), Alparslan said Turkey aims to complete the COVID-19 vaccination for tourism professionals before the start of the summer season.
The campaign is said to cover more than 1 million workers at facilities and tourist agencies, as well as tour guides and drivers.
“In order to minimize the negative impact of the virus on tourism, the government carries out a number of works with sector shareholders such as (the launch of the) Safe Tourism Certification Program,” Alparslan said.
The Safe Tourism Certification Program was launched last year to ensure strict safety and hygiene measures at accommodation facilities and airports.
The pandemic and related restrictions have slashed foreign arrivals in Turkey. The figure in the January-February period was down 70.24% year-on-year.
The number of foreigners visiting the country fell 71.7% year-on-year throughout 2020 and exceeded 12.7 million, according to official data.
The sector’s revenues last year dropped 65.1% year-on-year to $12.06 billion (TL 97.92 billion).
Officials have recently said some 34 million foreign visitors are expected this year, with revenues estimated to reach around $23 billion.
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