Turkey has talked up its credentials as a safe tourism destination this year having agreed to purchase 90 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Visit Turkey said the agreement, which includes the option for 30 million more doses, will aid its plans to further re-open its travel and tourism sector.
The country, which welcomed 2.5 million Brits in 2019, was placed on the UK government’s red list when the traffic light lists were announced earlier this month.
But the tourist board said a recent lockdown has had a “significant impact” on reducing Covid-19 infections, which it said have fallen by 73% since May 1.
It pointed to “widespread protocols and social distancing measures”, noting how 11.95 million of the country’s 82 million population have been fully-vaccinated, with 16 million people having received a first dose.
Turkey has suspended flights from Brazil, South Africa and India – where variants of concern have been identified, with arrivals from these countries subject to managed quarantine. And Visit Turkey said “stricter” measures have been put in place at borders for all arrivals.
Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, said: “2021 will be a year of safety throughout the tourism season. With the safe, effective and disciplined practices and measures that we have carried out, our certification program has become one of the most successful implementations in the world and we had a successful 2020 season.
“Around 10,000 tourism facilities and hotels will be certified to ensure they meet the necessary high standard of Covid protocols. Turkey was a leading country in safe tourism last year and 2021 will see safety heightened even further.”
Ersoy said Turkey is “investing further” in its Safe Tourism Certification Program which sets standards for tourism facilities including airports, accommodation, restaurants, cafés, culture, art, marine tourism facilities, vehicles, theme parks and ski lifts. Certification is compulsory for all accommodation facilities with 30 or more rooms. More than 9,800 facilities have been certified so far.
All hotels certified under the Safe Tourism Certification Program provide testing facilities for tourists so they can obtain test results, if needed, before departing Turkey. PCR tests cost approximately £26 and can be carried out at Turkey’s international airports.