Turkey is preparing to launch an internationally recognized certification system for “coronavirus-free” touristic areas and facilities to revive the industry, the tourism minister said, adding that domestic tourism could return back to normal by late May.
Speaking to broadcaster NTV, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said the ministry had been working with relevant ministries and industry representatives to decide on the guidelines and regulations for the certification system. Ersoy said the ministry would begin handing out “coronavirus-free” certificates to tourism-based businesses where no contact with the virus had been detected, and the necessary safety and hygiene measures have been confirmed.
Ersoy noted that the industry could begin the recovery process in late April with domestic tourism destinations and added that the normalization of inbound tourism would be possible by the end of May.
Erkan Yağcı, chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers' Association, said the certification measures had been welcomed by an industry seeking guidance for normalization efforts amid the pandemic.
He noted that the certification would help hotels and other service providers to assure travelers of their hygiene standards, which Yağcı said would be the most important factor in post-pandemic tourism.
Commenting on recovery trends in upcoming months, Ülkay Atmaca, head of Turkey's Professional Hotel Managers Association, said the industry could begin seeing mobility during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the feast marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at the end of May.
Atmaca said the return of international travelers was tied to a swift recovery in domestic tourism: “Domestic travelers need to start vacationing to show foreign tourists that Turkey is a safe and hygienic holiday destination.”
The outbreak has put tens of millions of jobs in the global tourism and tourism sector at risk. The World Travel and Tourism Council last month said the pandemic was putting up to 50 million jobs in the industry, with travel likely to slump by a quarter this year and Asia being the most affected continent.
International travel is expected to fall at least 10.5% this year, the biggest year-on-year drop, the industry consultancy Tourism Economics recently said.
Meanwhile, Turkey announced in March a TL 100 billion ($14.7 billion) stimulus package to support businesses and industries affected by the fallout of the outbreak. It supports several companies and sectors as well as the tourism sector by paying personnel salaries and postponing loans and taxes. The tourism accommodation tax was also suspended until November to support the sector.
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