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Turkey starts to lockdown, confident that tourism will rise again

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The Turkish tourism industry has put its faith in lockdown measures to prevent transmission of the Corona virus. There are times when Turkish tourism will rise again.

Turkey closed the border within three weeks from Thursday (4/29/2021) to May 17 to suppress the spike in coronavirus infections and deaths. During this period, a curfew applies to residents.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy exempted foreign visitors from the curfew. However, it does not accept foreign tourists.

During the lockdown, residents are asked to stay at home and can only leave their homes for shopping and other basic necessities. Intercity travel is only permitted with a permit, whereas cafes and restaurants only accept food delivery.

Public transportation continues to operate but with restrictions. Likewise in the general service, food and manufacturing sectors, employees still enter but there are restrictions.

Chairman of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) Firuz Baglikaya hopes that the lockdown can encourage a decrease in COVID-19 infections and ultimately have a positive impact on tourism in the summer.

The implementation of lockdown during fasting and Eid al-Fitr is not without reason. Reflecting on the previous Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, there was high mobility between cities.

Indeed, the lockdown during Ramdhan and Eid al-Fitr will cause certain economic losses, but the consideration of the safety of the residents is the main concern. Baglikaya will look for ways to keep tourism safe during lockdown.

“The full lockdown is the hope for good summer months in the tourism sector,” said the Deputy Head of the Federation of Turkish Hoteliers (TUROFED) Tacettin Ozden.

Ozden stressed that the lockdown was very necessary, given the current situation. If not done, he is worried that Covid-19 will be a disaster in the summer.

“Total lockdown was the right decision, we support it,” said Tacettin.

The crucial tourism industry has been hit hard by the Corona outbreak and the lockdown. Last year alone, the number of tourists decreased by 70 percent compared to 2020. Only 12.7 million tourists entered Turkey throughout 2020. This figure has decreased further in the January-February period this year by 70.24%.

The revenue of the Turkish tourism sector also decreased drastically, reaching 65.1% to USD 12.06 billion. This year, the tourist target is around 34 million with an estimated income of around USD 23 billion.

The Health Ministry reported daily total cases in Turkey peaked above 63,000 on April 16 then fell sharply to below 37,000 earlier this week. The total number of victims who died due to Corona in Turkey reached 39,057 people.

Birol Akman, a member of Turkey’s Tourism Promotion and Development board, also responded positively to the lockdown decision.

“We expect tourism to be fine as the number of cases decreases after Ramadan and Eid. Bookings will also increase,” said Akman.

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