By Tuba Sahin
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish tourism officials welcomed Germany's decision of partially lifting its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey's four popular summer holiday destinations -- Antalya, Izmir, Mugla, and Aydin.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Muberra Eresin, head of the Hotel Association of Turkey (TUROB), stressed that the move has boosted morales of the sector players which were adversely hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
She underlined that the decision of Germany, which is the dynamo of the EU, will influence the perception of other countries positively.
"Obviously, this is a late decision but a decision that we expect as a sector and which makes us happy. It will have a positive impact on the Turkish tourism sector," Eresin said.
Turkey set drastic measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, beating its rivals, she noted.
"All areas serving tourism such as hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and coaches received certificates for complying by safety measures and regulations under the Safe Tourism Certification Program," Eresin said.
The Safe Tourism Certification, launched in collaboration with Turkey’s Foreign, Culture and Tourism, and Transportation Ministries, covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation, and health conditions for tourists and hospitality employees alike.
The certificate, issued by international certification institutions, validates the execution of strict health and hygiene requirements at airlines, airports, and other transport facilities, as well as in accommodation outlets and food and beverage venues.
Ulkay Atmaca, head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey (POYD), highlighted the importance of German market for Turkish tourism sector.
"This decision following the UK and Russia, albeit late, is very important to us. With a quick recovery, we expect to host high number of German tourists," Atmaca told Anadolu Agency.
However, the compulsion of showing a negative PCR (virus antigen) test for travelers returning to Germany may create reluctancy, Atmaca said.
Responding to a question about the income mobility the move will generate, Atmaca said: "We should see flight plans and German demand to evaluate the economic effect of the decision.
"At this point, removal of warning is important to us. We will wait for details."
In 2019, Turkey posted record high tourism revenues with $34.5 billion, according to the country's statistical authority. The figure rose 17% year-on-year in 2019, up from $29.5 billion in 2018.
The country welcomed more than 45 million foreign visitors last year, rising 14.1% from the previous year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey was expecting 58 million tourists -- domestic and foreign -- this year, with more than $40 billion in revenue.
More than 5 million German travelers visited Turkey last year, up 11.4% year-on-year, according to official data.
Since originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has claimed 5,765 lives in Turkey.
The country has reported 234,934 cases, while 218,491 patients have recovered, according to the country's health ministry data.
Moreover, the total number of COVID-19 tests carried out by the country has reached almost 5 million.