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Covid: Turkey closes the country to locals opens for tourists

May 11, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Tourists in Turkey, taking pictures near the Hagia Sophia Mosque at Sultanahmet in Istanbul on May 9, 2021 [BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey has said that foreign holidaymakers are exempt from the two-and-a-half-week lockdown being imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus, in an effort to revitalise the tourism industry and the country’s economy.

“I am not criticising government as a Turkish citizen. Tourism is important for Turkey which has a coast on the Mediterranean Sea. They opened the country for tourists to boost the economy in Turkey,” Ahmet Yildiz, a coffee house owner told MEMO yesterday at Istanbul airport.

“This is my second time in Turkey. I went to Bodrum this year and spent 2 weeks there. The hotels have COVID-19 safe certificates and are very clean. I like Turkey’s Covid-19 policy,”  British tourist Emma from Birmingham said.

Those arriving in Turkey must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

According to the German survey company, Statista, only 12.7 million tourists visited Turkey in 2020, compared to a record 45.1 million in 2019.

Tourism is the second biggest sector in Turkey after infrastructure and authorities hope to attract 30 million tourists this year.

 READ: Turkey COVID cases below 20,000 for first time since mid-March