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Turkey’s tourism can catch up to pre-pandemic levels in 2021

Turkey’s tourism can catch up to pre-pandemic levels in 2021

Turkish tourism can catch up to pre-pandemic levels if the country continues measures enhancing trust and confidence for tourists, according to the former secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

“Turkey is doing very well. If Turkey continues to inspire trust and confidence for visitors, it may reach the pre-2020 rates before the end of 2021,” Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the U.K.-based World Tourism Forum Institute (WTFI), told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The pandemic slashed Turkey’s tourism revenues by two-thirds last year, reflecting the heavy toll from rolling global travel restrictions, stay-home orders and the closures of restaurants and hotels that peaked in the second quarter of 2020.

Turkey relies on tourists to bring in foreign currency that helps decrease the current account deficit. But last year, the sector’s revenues dropped 65.1% year-on-year to $12.06 billion (TL 88.19 billion) from $34.5 billion in 2019.

A second virus wave in recent months led to new restrictions on restaurants and schools, and overnight and weekend curfews. The economy is expected to have avoided a contraction last year and should rebound in 2021.