Antalya, beach in Alanya

Turkey to certify ”coronavirus-free” tourism destinations

Turkish government is already taking steps to try to start the tourist season in June. After national tourists, those from Asian countries will be the first to travel to Turkey.

Turkish government has decided to launch an initiative with which it will grant “coronavirus-free” certificates to various tourist destinations throughout the country, as announced by Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, a few days ago.

“We have begun the certification process to determine which are the coronavirus-free zones,” Ersoy said in remarks to a private television network. “We are going to develop it step by step. First, we will develop a certification system that is internationally accepted,” said the minister, adding that officials from the ministries of Health, Transport and Agriculture are also participating in the project.

“We are planning to include all the organisations in the commission (in charge of developing the project) and quickly establish the certification system in the first week of May. Gradually, we will make the tourist facilities obtain these certificates until the end of May,” said Ersoy , who added that expects national tourism to be restored in June, once the “normalisation” measures after the pandemic start in mid-May.

Measures to start the tourist season in June

As detailed by the minister, although the tourist season can begin with national tourism, many precautionary measures will be maintained; for example, vehicles dedicated to the transport of tourists will be sterilised regularly, and personnel will have to undergo medical tests and receive training on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, airports, hotels, restaurants, museums and archaeological sites will be reconditioned to comply with social distancing regulations, thermal cameras will be installed and medical personnel and equipment will be available to deal with possible cases. Finally, a list of available health infrastructures around the tourist sites will be drawn up to be delivered to travel agencies and tour operators.

Once all these processes are completed, the Turkish government will establish contact with countries that are usually a source of tourists for Turkey, with the aim of reaching agreements so that groups of tourists can travel with all the sanitary guarantees.

Tourists from Asian countries will be the first to travel to Turkey

“Through agreements with other countries, we will start flights following a gradual schedule … In the first phase, tourist arrivals from Asian countries are expected. In the second phase, arrivals from Germany and Austria will recover soon,” said the minister, adding that after them tourists from countries in central and northern Europe will come.

However, Ersoy acknowledged that tourists from Russia or the United Kingdom, two important sources of tourism for Turkey, will probably not be able to travel to the country until the end of July because the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic is still in an early phase in those countries. The objective in any case is to try to save the year 2020, in which Turkey expected to receive 60 million tourists.