Reuters reports about empty beaches, closed hotels and plans to save the tourist season in the Turkish Mediterranean.
The resorts in Turkey are quiet and empty out of season. While hoteliers are deciding whether to open hotels at all, the government insists on resuming transport links with other countries - this will help at least partially save the tourism industry, which sagged noticeably during the coronavirus pandemic. Turkey will win or lose, it will become known next week.
Before the outbreak, Turkey was considered the sixth largest tourist destination in the world. Last year, 45 million visitors visited the country on vacation, and, according to the Minister of Tourism Mehmet Ersoy, there is hope that this year it will be possible to attract at least half of this number. In the first five months of this year, the number of foreigners fell by two-thirds: for a country where tourism makes up 12% of the economy, this is unacceptably large.
To convince governments and residents of foreign countries of the safety of local recreation, the Turkish authorities launched a program of "healthy tourism", which includes health checks and hygiene, and more than 600 hotels have applied for certification. The first international flights are already beginning to arrive at local airports, but so far the Mediterranean resorts like Antalya are unusually empty, and there are almost no foreign tourists at the hotels. Domestic tourism will not solve the problems, so, according to Ersoy, next week, when the next round of negotiations on the future of international travel ends, it will become clear whether these hotels and the season as a whole will survive.
Visitors from 70 countries are waiting in Turkey, but they have particular hopes for the resumption of flights from Russia, Germany and the UK - countries that also suffered greatly from the pandemic. Most tourists traditionally come from Russia - the country that ranks third in the world in the number of patients with coronavirus. Turkey hopes flights from Russia will resume in mid-July. Germany ranks second in the number of tourists: there, trips to Turkish resorts are prohibited until the end of August, but Turkey hopes that these restrictions can still be removed earlier.
Local economists argue that the tourism industry is facing hard times and the recession will be very long. Recently, authorities decided to stop subsidizing people who lost their jobs during the outbreak, including those employed in the tourism sector. Owners of some people are not in a hurry to hire employees, but others, as the union reports, have already begun to train their employees in new rules of hygiene and social distance. The few foreign tourists who arrived in Antalya believe that the city is beautiful and clean as never before, and the staff of hotels and restaurants owns all the subtleties of receiving tourists in the post-hoc time.
Let us note that millions of Russians are looking forward to the opening of the borders. Neither Crimea nor Sochi could replace Turkish resorts.