Is It Safe to Travel to Turkey Now

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Author: Sumavanth
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Is It Safe to Travel to Turkey Now?:
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Coronavirus Updates

Is It Safe to Travel to Turkey Now? The Latest Turkey Coronavirus Updates 

 

LAST UPDATED: 10 DECEMBER

The self-isolation period for people returning from countries not on the travel corridor has been cut from 14 days to 10 days. This can be cut further as part of the test to release scheme. Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.

With EasyJet and Ryanair resuming a number of flights in June/July, things appear to be looking up for tourism in Turkey. The best news? British tourists are officially allowed back in the country. But, unfortunately, the FCDO travel advice advises against all but essential travel there and there are still a number of other factors to consider before making the decision to go on holiday to Turkey.

The self-isolation period for people returning from countries not on the travel corridor has been cut from 14 days to 10 days. This can be cut further as part of the test to release scheme. Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating. 

While in 2019 British tourists made approximately 2.5 million visits to Turkey, the tourist stats for 2020 have been, well… a lot less. But Turkey has been working on a grand plan to produce a happy ending, in which they’ve beaten the coronavirus and we are soaking up the local sun and culture - hopefully in 2020. 

It’s looking good, as well - as of 6 June, the country officially reopened for international tourism, and the UK has now made the list.

However, it’s important to note that the UK government once again recommends that you don’t travel to Turkey unless absolutely necessary - and even then, once you return back to the UK after your trip, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days. It looks like it’s best to hold off on booking your holiday for the time being… but we’ve got our fingers crossed that Turkey will return to the list of government-approved travel corridors soon!

An Update on the Turkey Coronavirus Situation

Since COVID-19 hit the headlines earlier this year, the question for anyone planning a holiday to Turkey was, Does Turkey have the coronavirus? The answer is yes - after all, this is a global pandemic, but the Turkish authorities have taken the situation seriously and are handling it well.

Turkey began implementing restrictions in early March, after the country’s first case of COVID-19 was reported. Schools, restaurants, bars and shops were shut down, and travel restrictions were imposed in 31 cities. Complete lockdown has been in effect on weekends and national holidays since the beginning of April. 

In mid-May, though, the government started a schedule, to be implemented gradually, for easing internal restrictions. Currently all intercity travel restrictions have been lifted, although public transportation is operating at reduced capacity.

A Man sitting at a university with book

Certain businesses, including shopping centres, restaurants and cafes, parks, sports facilities, some smaller shops and barbershops, are now allowed to reopen. (Why is it that hairdressers always seem to reopen first? Aesthetic reasons, probably. Presumably we’ve all gotten pretty shaggy lately.)

Young people and the elderly (Turkey took an age-related approach) are now allowed out of their homes from 10am to 8pm, although those who are under 18 must be with their parents the entire time.

2020 Holidays to Turkey: Are They Possible and What Would They Look Like?

Turkish Flag

The Turkish tourist industry definitely wants to see you on holiday there in 2020. As we mentioned at the outset, Turkey has a plan. And it’s an ambitious one: nothing less than to implement and coordinate an “internationally accepted certification system,” according to Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Turkey’s culture and tourism minister. 

In spearheading the initiative, Turkey will certify some tourist destinations and attractions as ‘coronavirus-free’. The focus will be on three components of the tourist industry: transportation, facilities and the people who make use of the first two components.

Here’s how they’re gonna do it.

To minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, everything will be sterilised. And when Turkey says everything, they mean everything: airports, transport vehicles, hotels, restaurants, museums and other tourist sites. 

If that sounds like a straightforward and simple task, think again. Taking just the example of hotels, this is what you’ll encounter if you’re able to go to a hotel in Turkey.

A woman cleans home by wearing a mask

  • As you enter your hotel, someone will take your temperature.
  • At check-in and in the lobby, you’ll find lines of proper social distancing already set out for you. (Furniture will be rearranged as required.) If you’re not already wearing a mask (though you know you should be), you’ll be provided with one. Everywhere you go in the hotel there will be disinfectant helpfully put out for your use.
  • Your room will have sat empty for 12 hours since the last visitors. All the surfaces people might have touched – the air-conditioning unit, the television and so on – will have been disinfected.
  • Hotel restaurants will have hand sanitizer at their entrances, and tables will be spaced far enough apart that they meet social distancing requirements.
  • Open buffets will also stay open, with extra cleanliness precautions in place. Food will be displayed behind glass panels, all beverage machines will be removed from the common area and products such as salt, spices, sugar and toothpicks will be available in single-use packets. Staff members will serve all food and drink to the guests.
  • Fitness centres and spas will remain closed - probably as those involve too much proximity and sweating. 
  • Plus the hotel will have a designated quarantine area… just in case.
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But what about the beaches? we hear you cry. Okay, the beaches are an exception in that they won’t actually be sterilised, but social distancing regulations will be in effect here as elsewhere.

People who work in the tourism industry will be required to have an immunity certificate as well as pandemic training, which will include how to react if someone does show symptoms of the virus.

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO TURKEY NOW?

So… is it safe to holiday in Turkey at the moment? Unfortunately, the answer is not quite.

Turkey has been welcoming international tourists since 6 June and the UK has now made the list - but the UK is advising only essential travel to the country right now.

And, even if holidays were advised, while travelling you’ll need to agree to a health screening and temperature check and you must wear a face mask while on the plane and out in public.

While you are dreaming about your next trip to Turkey, you can whet your appetite by viewing Kleopatra Beach in Alanya (seen below) or Marmaris Beach in Marmaris in real time, courtesy of live streaming, so you can insert yourself in the picture.

Have Certificate, Will Travel ?

We hope that soon we can relax on Turkey’s beautiful beaches and explore its cultural and historical marvels. Because even if we have to wear our masks and keep our social distance, we still want to go!

Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the situation in Turkey and other holiday destinations. That’s also a very nice place to visit just to get a virtual fix for now, in anticipation of actually travelling.

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Panoramic view of Konyaalti beach and Mediterranean sea at mountains background in Antalya, Turkey
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