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Tourism sector representatives hope for speedy recovery amid virus outbreak

Tourism sector representatives hope for speedy recovery amid virus outbreak

Representatives of the tourism sector in Turkey are hoping for a speedy recovery of the tourism sector after the new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

Evaluating the upcoming process, HIS Travel Turkey General Manager Emre Özkur told Anadolu Agency (AA) Thursday that as a company based in Japan, a country in the same region as the virus’ origin, they felt the effects of the virus all too quickly. One of the major problems facing the sector initially came with the cancelation of reservations as of January, a process which only accelerated after governments worldwide imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, he said, noting that most cancellation requests came from Europe, which later became the next epicenter of the virus.

Özkur pointed to these first manifestations of the crisis as “the beginning of a process that will bring many changes.”

He exemplified one of those changes as an increasing trend toward solo travel in lieu of guided tours and packages.

“We expect that individual tour packages with contents providing experiences will come to the forefront in domestic and international tours,” he said.

Emphasizing that tourists would be more meticulous about isolation and health issues, Özkür noted that the pandemic also highlighted the importance of tourism firms that can protect customer rights.

Companies that establish a system aiming toward the protection of the rights of customers will stand out more, he said.

Corendon Airlines Chairman Yıldıray Karaer noted that measures introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak would be the harbinger of new standards in the field, with hygiene rules enforced with particular diligence.

“We think that certain certifications will be required on flights. A number of new standards may come by the World Civil Aviation Organization,” he said.

Özkan Özbaş, deputy chair of Neredekal.com, a Turkish traveling and hotel reservations platform, said that the sector was already entering into a new process which has now gain momentum.

“The facilities that make a difference on the customer side may come to the fore. Hygiene may become more of a factor when it comes to hotel searches. Keywords such as ‘Antalya hotels that take precautions against the virus’ might be preferred. Therefore, operators, hotels and businesses that act according to these keywords will be at the top of the choices,” Özbaş said.

Evaluating developments so far, Limak Tourism Group Chairman Kaan Kavaloğlu stated that the new rules may be seen in hotel administration in the coming period, ranging from increased room disinfection to the use of thermal cameras at hotel entrances.

“We may have both security-related camera systems and health-related checkpoints from now on,” Kavaloğlu stated.