The southern Turkish resort city of Antalya has become the most popular destination this year in the Mediterranean, hosting the highest number of tourists in the region.
Recording its best year in 2019 with more than 15 million tourists visiting the city, Antalya began 2020 with a target of hosting 18 million visitors. However, the province opened the tourism season late due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The arrivals to Antalya saw a noteworthy increase after flights with Russia resumed in August.
The province has attracted more than 2 million tourists from 170 countries between Jan. 1 and Sept. 22. The introduction of the “Safe Tourism Certification Program” earlier this year, coordinated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry along with several other related ministries, including the Health Ministry, helped in increasing the number of tourists coming to the country. Accordingly, Turkey has taken a series of measures at airports, transportation facilities, hotels and other touristic establishments as well.
The program sets out a series of measures for various sectors, including accommodation, transportation, the health status of travelers and employee facilities for those looking to spend their vacation in Turkey. Information about those measures has been shared with foreign diplomats, tourism agencies and press members, who were able to examine the measures on-site.
Antalya City Council Tourism Working Group Chairman Recep Yavuz told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the sector started the new year with great expectations but is currently going through difficult times due to the coronavirus outbreak.
He said that the Mediterranean region, one of the three most important tourism spots in the world with half a billion visitors annually, has suffered a loss of 72%. Yavuz added that Mediterranean countries including Morocco, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey have taken measures against the epidemic as they try to increase their share of the tourist season as well.
He noted that there has been strong competition, especially between Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Spain, since June.