Turkey's partial lockdown decision during the holy month of Ramadan amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country was the correct decision in terms of contributing to tourism, Turkish tourism professionals said Wednesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday announced that the government will have imposed a two-week partial lockdown as of April 14 to help curb a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
The tourism professionals, who expect 30 million tourists this year thanks to Turkey's Safe Tourism Certification Program, welcomed the government's decision.
Mehmet İşler, the President of Aegean Touristic Enterprises and Accommodation Union, said the latest coronavirus measures of the government will be beneficial to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases for the summer tourism season.
“We believe that the (tourism) season will be good thanks to strict measures. And Turkey deservedly will be ahead of its competitors in the European (tourism) market,” he said.
Stressing that the latest measures were on point, İşler said Turkey will overcome the pandemic.
“These measures are extremely right. As a society, we will overcome these (bad) days by taking responsibility together and we will host tourists in our country in 2021. Thanks to the tourism sector, foreign currencies and employment will be provided. Most importantly, we believe that we will reach our goal of 30 million tourists,” he said.
Turkey started a vaccination campaign for tourism workers. The campaign includes employees of airlines, airports, accommodation facilities and travel agencies, as well as tourist guides.
According to the country's Tourism Promotion and Development Agency, the vaccination process for tourism workers will be completed before the summer season.
Under the new restrictions, the weekday curfew will start at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. and last until 5 a.m., during which inter-city travel will also be banned except for necessary and urgent situations.
Cafes, restaurants and teahouses will also only provide home delivery and takeaway services, while wedding halls, sports centers and game halls will be closed until the end of the Eid holiday marking the end of Ramadan in the country.
Erdoğan said restrictions on public transportation for people over 65 and under 18 would be in effect again.
According to the government, with its stricter measures during Ramadan's first two weeks, Turkey aims to significantly reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19.
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