The hotels in the Turkish region of Antalya, a destination much appreciated by vacationers, are preparing to resume their activity after months of hiatus due to the pandemic . The rooms have been cleaned, the pool has been filled and the sun loungers have been arranged to comply with the rules of social distancing.
Although many Turkish companies have suffered from the pandemic, tourism has been particularly affected. In 2019, the tourism industry contributed almost 29,000 million euros and some 52 million visitors. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, visits fell by 69% and revenues fell to about 10,000 million euros according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism.
“We have been closed for about 20 months. We were quite happy about the lifting of flight restrictions by Russia, because approximately 70-80% of our hotel guests are Russian. The further gradual lifting of restrictions from Europe gives us hope for the rest of the 2021 (tourist) season, “laments Murat Ozbolat, manager of the Ananas hotel.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in 2019 almost 43 million visitors came to the country, of which about seven million came from Russia, about five million from Germany and two and a half million came from the United Kingdom.
“I think that the relaxation of travel restrictions to Turkey was very necessary. If restrictions are relaxed with respect to other countries, be it Spain or any other, Turkey should not be excluded, because the people here also urgently need visitors like us, otherwise the country collapses, “explained Renate Malzahn, a German tourist.
The UK and France even put Turkey on their red list , requiring mandatory quarantines on returnees, and Russia suspended flights in April. France, yes, has already removed Turkey from the list, although the United Kingdom continues to maintain it.
Fears that another tourist summer would be missed prompted the government to introduce what it called a “total closure” for residents, but allowed tourists to circulate freely.
To encourage tourism, Turkey gave priority to tourism employees in vaccination and the tourism ministry shared a promotional video showing Turkish staff wearing masks saying “Enjoy, I’m vaccinated.” The video was removed after protests on social networks .