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Tourists prefer to not cancel early bookings for Turkey amid outbreak

Tourists prefer to not cancel early bookings for Turkey amid outbreak

A large portion of early bookings by foreign tourists during the coronavirus pandemic has not been canceled but rather delayed, which shows travelers haven’t given up on Turkey, tourism representatives say.

The COVID-19 crisis has frozen international tourism with the widespread introduction of travel restrictions and the closure of airports and national borders, bringing one of Turkey’s key economic sectors grinding to a halt.

The country is now looking to bring back tourists by gradually restarting flights and issuing certificates for businesses that have taken necessary steps against the coronavirus.

The initial test from the end of this month will be the resumption of domestic tourism, with an eye on foreign visitors in the coming period.

Hotels in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya are said to be nearing the end of their preparations for the tourism season in accordance with the notice on mandatory measures issued by the Culture and Tourism Ministry. They have been designing their facilities, including buffets, beaches, lobbies and pools, to ensure social distancing.

The “healthy tourism certificate” program aims to convince travelers that despite the pandemic, Turkey’s beaches and historic treasures will be safe to visit this year, with rigorous checks on airlines, local transport and hotels.

The new certificates set criteria for health and hygiene in airlines, airports and other transportation hubs, as well as hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes. They will be awarded by international institutions and information will be sent to tour operators and will be accessible to tourists.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy recently said COVID-19 testing centers were being set up at airports. Passengers in terminals will be required to wear masks and temperatures will be taken with forehead thermometers.