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Turkish tourism industry given morale boost as Germany lifts travel warnings

Turkish tourism industry given morale boost as Germany lifts travel warnings

The Turkish tourism industry on Tuesday received some long-anticipated good news after Germany gave its citizens the green light to travel to Turkey’s popular coastal provinces for the summer holidays.

Tourism industry representatives welcomed the decision, saying Turkey will be a “safe holiday” destination for Germans.

The German foreign ministry said it was dropping a warning against travel to Antalya, Izmir, Muğla and Aydın, along Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, where the coronavirus’s prevalence stood at only five new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the course of a week.

The move comes following consultations between German and Turkish officials and is a part of a deal to help revive tourism between the two countries.

“Germans have missed Antalya and Antalya has missed the Germans a lot,” said Ülkay Atmaca, head of Turkey’s Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD). “It is excellent news that our guests will be coming again from our second-largest market,” Atmaca told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday, adding that they now expect German tourists to flock to the coastal provinces.

“We will continue to enforce strict rules for safe tourism,” said Erkan Yağcı, the head of the Union of Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB), evaluating the decision.

For his part, Alanya Tourism Operators Association (ALTID) President Burhan Sili said rather than the numbers of tourists coming from these countries, “it was very important that German and Russian markets have come into play.”

“Turkey has developed a special concept of tourism and hygiene for these four regions in order to allow for safe tourism in line with the pandemic conditions,” German government spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said in Berlin on Tuesday.

Turkey would also require all travelers leaving for Germany to show a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours before leaving, according to a foreign ministry statement.

In March, Berlin issued a global travel warning for its citizens to avoid non-essential travel abroad due to the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on international air travel. Three months later it lifted its travel warning only for the European Union and the Schengen countries but extended it for all the other countries until the end of August.

Germany’s blanket travel warning was widely criticized by the tourism industry.

On the other hand, in a list unveiled in June, the EU decided to exclude Turkey, along with the U.S. and other countries, from a list of countries recommended for nonessential travel.