Coronavirus: Turkey unveils plan to revive tourism with health and hygiene certificates

“Our certification program shall ensure that our guests in Turkey are going to make their holidays safely and hygienically and feel comfortable during their visit,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Turkey’s minister of Culture and Tourism said in a press release. “Our programme covers preventive and protective steps including air, marine and land transportation, arrival ports, all facilities providing a holiday experience, health condition of employees in the industry, and tourists themselves,” he said. Eager to restart an economy that was already suffering from inflation and unemployment before the pandemic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun to ease lockdown restrictions — with shopping malls and hair salons set to re-open on Monday, and the elderly and youth who were confined to their homes for weeks allowed out for short spells. But international and domestic travel remains under severe restriction, strangling a key industry in a country with no oil but a Mediterranean climate, golden beaches, snow-capped mountains, and archaeological treasures. Unlike measures being considered by the United Kingdom, there appears to be no talk so far of imposing a two-week quarantine on anyone entering the country, a move British travel executives say would kill the tourism industry. While Turkey’s infection rates have declined and deaths have plummeted from a daily high of 127 in mid-April to about 50 per day, some physicians have warned of a resurgence of the illness if the lockdown is removed too quickly. But the new measures could also reassure passengers inclined to take holidays in Turkey, lured by a declining lira that has lowered prices for food and accommodation and cheap flights on Turkish Airlines, discount carriers and charters.