Thanks to the Health Policies Adopted, Turkey is One Step Ahead of Other Countries in the Tourism Sector
Turkey's tourism sector continues its preparations at full swing as Turkey’s "new normal” period starts with mask, hygiene, and social distancing measures in place across all aspects of life from public transportation to social life. Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, which has immediately initiated a “Safe Tourism Certification Program” to track the outbreak, Turkey is one step ahead of its regional and global rivals. While continuing to intensify its efforts in a targeted approach, which is to be a safe tourist destination both for domestic and international tourists by implementing a certification program complying with NASA's hygiene standards that apply to all space flights in the tourism sector, Turkey sets a leading example for other countries such as Taiwan and Egypt.
The Exhibition Director of EMITT, Hacer AydÄ±n stated that representatives of the tourism sector in Turkey continue their intense efforts to adopt health and hygiene-oriented solutions since May. AydÄ±n reminded that “Safe Tourism Certification Program” launched on May 28 is very important for the tourism sector: “With the Safe Tourism Certification Program, Turkey took a step that made a difference compared to not only its regional and rivals Spain, Greece and Italy but also the world. This process was followed by the Airport Outbreak Certificate launched for our airports in the transport industry. In fact, Turkey has taken two invaluable steps in terms of the tourism sector quickly and before its rivals did. Rapid adaptation of the airports in our major cities and holiday regions to these processes was also critically important. Especially the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure continue to undertake rapid and result-oriented initiatives to revitalize the industry.”
The target is to Survive 2020 with Minimal Damage
Reminding that the tourism sector, which has created over one million direct employment opportunities and contributed $34,5 billion to the country's economy in 2019, AydÄ±n said that the most important goal is to come out stronger for the 2021 season by surviving 2020, which is expected to be a tough year for the sector, with minimal damage. Stating that the data indicate that the outbreak in Turkey is brought under control, AydÄ±n said: "We can say that the domestic tourism season opened on June 1. However, due to the COVID-19 impact area, the measures taken, and the sensitivity shown by Turkey alone is not enough for the revival of international tourism. Today, Germany, whose citizens make up the largest group of tourists visiting our country, has not given a green light for travel to Turkey yet. The United Kingdom, which is also a major tourist market, announced that it could take steps to ease restrictions on July 15. We wait for another top tourist market for Turkey, Russia to ease restrictions. Stating that financial losses can be compensated thanks to the travel demand which is expected to increase starting from Fall 2020 depending on the elimination of the pandemic risk, she further added: “With the revival of the international tourism sector particularly Germany, United Kingdom and Russia as of July 15 we will be able to generate forecasts more clearly.
Health & Hygiene Oriented Tourism will Generate Revenue
AydÄ±n reminded that according to the data from the World Health Organization, the mobility of 1.4 billion people traveling before the pandemic decreased by 98% after the outbreak. Stating that even if the pandemic fades this month, it will take quite a long time for people to go out and begin traveling, she added that it is difficult to satisfy forecast demand for 2020 tourism revenues.
Expecting Turkey to host 20 million tourists in 2020, and tourism revenues to decrease to $15 million compared to 2019 in the best-case scenario, AydÄ±n continued her words as follows: “It is very important to offer an integrated health and hygiene package rather than presenting health and hygiene-oriented approaches to guests only in holiday resorts or holiday destinations. Turkey has completely fulfilled its responsibilities in this regard. However, serious steps still need to be taken to support the tourism sector. I believe that it is helpful to remind that once again. Government support for our industry should be increased radically. Since the tourism sector contributes the most to Turkey's foreign exchange earnings, it will be helpful to freeze all payments and debts of the sector representatives in 3-month periods. The Ministry of Tourism's budget allocated for the promotion of Turkey for 2020 -assuming that promotion processes probably will be postponed- should be used for suspension or postponement of debt payments of the sector. Repayments on bank loans of the sector and interest rates on these loans should be frozen and postponed, and debts should be restructured. A lifeline should be provided for the tourism sector to survive.”
Tourism Sector will See a Boom in Demand
Stating that the tourism sector may have a massive boom if the pandemic ends, it will be possible for Turkey to break all records in both domestic and foreign markets, AydÄ±n: “I still hold the belief that only domestic tourism will contribute to the sector. When it comes to the other scenario, if COVID-19 will completely fall off the global agenda in September 2020 and if we reach the days which are 100% safe, then I can expect a big boom in the tourism industry. This boom will affect EMITT which will be held for the 25th time in 2021 quite positively. I believe that there will be a huge participation in EMITT since it will be the first exhibition in the sector in 2021 and the sector will peak. We should also remember that holidaymakers will be very hungry for traveling.”