Turkey to secure place as safe travel hotspot for COVID-19

As the pandemic continues to weigh on the global tourism sector, some countries are more severely affected and some are trying to protect themselves with state support, health initiatives and rapid vaccine deployments. Having developed confidence in the Turkish tourism industry, which attracted many tourists last year despite a significant loss from the year before the pandemic, the Radisson Hotel Group aims to continuously maintain its investment plans in the country with three new hotels this year.

The group aims to reach 50 hotels and 10,000 beds by 2025, while its regional representative said that by pursuing its investment plans, they “live up to their commitment to Turkey”, where they expect the revenues of the tourism will increase by 30% in 2021.

Radisson Hotel Group vice president for Africa and Turkey and director of business development Ramsay Rankoussi said in an interview with Turkish daily Sabah that people are ready to travel and they will look to countries that ‘they think they are sure.

Rankoussi described the 2020 pandemic as a year full of challenges but also a year that brought lessons with it.

“There has been no change in our mission. We continue to implement our 5-year development plan in the same way, ”he continued, regarding their investment plans for Turkey.

Stating that a better year awaits the entire tourism sector in 2021, he noted that although the projected 30% revenue increase is still down from 2019 figures, “it is promising to enter in a period of increase from a decrease “.

He went on to say that people are ready to travel but “the question everyone is asking is whether they will be quarantined in the country they are going to and tourists want to feel safe without being put in quarantine “, stressing that the vaccination processes will open up corridor travel for the countries which control it best.

The group will open a Radisson Collection hotel in the western tourist town of Bodrum in May, while another hotel is also slated to open in the Aliağa district in western Izmir. The third hotel planned for this year will open at the end of the year on Erciyes Mountain, in the center of Kayseri, which is home to ski resorts, under the Radisson Blu brand.

In addition, in 2022, the hotel group will also open three hotels in Esenyurt and Çamlıvadi in Istanbul and in the northwestern province of Bursa.

“Turkey is a country of interest for our group and a very valuable market,” Rankoussi added.

Responding to a question on the reaction of holidaymakers to controlled standardization in Turkey, the senior hotel chain official said that during standardization processes, economic, social and health balances should be established and each country acts according to this balance.

“Turkey is handling this process well. As the vaccination continues at full speed, this also indicates that the country will enter full normalization. These are positive steps for tourism.

Rankoussi further noted Turkey’s credit and government employment support for the tourism industry and said similar support does not exist in the Middle East and African markets, and that this additional support is very valuable in this regard.

Similar support is being provided in the European market, he continued, but “Turkey is more efficient, especially in destination marketing”.

“Turkey is much further ahead of other countries in terms of keeping borders open to revive the tourism sector, supporting the private sector and as a country taking swift decisions to ensure these policies,” he added.

Start of vaccination for the sector

Meanwhile, according to officials from Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, vaccinations for the sector will begin before April 7, to allow tourist facilities to remain open year-round without interruption.

Authorities have announced that vaccination of tourism workers at accommodation establishments that will serve as “safe tourism certifications” will be completed in April. Employees of hotels still open and holders of the Safe Tourism certificate will be vaccinated as a priority.

Tourism in Turkey is expected to start to gain momentum from April, with the arrival of Russian tourists to the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya.

Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD) President Ülkay Atmaca told Agence Anadolu (AA) on Sunday that Antalya was waiting for its guests and that “all preparations for the new season are complete. When you look at the aircraft and seat allocations, it looks like the activity will start with Russia in April. “

Stressing that Turkey is an important market for Russians, Atmaca also said that Russians enjoy spending their vacations in Turkey.

Stating that each crisis creates alternatives, Atmaca said that for the post-pandemic process, new routes have been determined for more people to go on vacation.

Cem Kınay – head of the Foundation for Sustainable Culture and Tourism of Anatolia, known as the developer of the “all-inclusive” system in tourism – said that Antalya is a very important destination for Russians.

Emphasizing that vaccine studies are going well and that vaccines will play a decisive role in travel, Kınay said: “Russians come most often to Antalya in Turkey, where they like to take their vacations. The “all inclusive” system is preferred by them. This system is best adopted in Turkey.

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