Turkey launches virus-free tourism certification

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has announced the official launch of its "healthy tourism certification programme", which aims to boost the country's tourism industry, which has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, news site Diken reported on Sunday.  

According to a written statement by the ministry, the virus-free certification programme is divided into four main sections concerning: passenger health and safety; employee health and safety; measures taken in facilities; and measures taken in transportation vehicles.

The certification will be issued by international bodies and will concern health and hygiene standards in planes, airports and other means and sites of transportation, as well as in accommodation and places that serve food and beverages.  

The initial recipients of the certification will be announced on the ministry's website from June 1.

While speaking on CNN Türk, Ersoy cautioned that the certification would not lead to a full recovery this year. "We will be doing well if we can open 50-60 percent of hotels," he said.

The outbreak has already taken its toll on Turkey's tourism sector, which generates approximately $30 billion in revenue, with hotels recording a large number of cancellations for the coming season, the country's Tourism Advisory Board said in April.

But the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies said tourism could still rebound should the virus diminish by the start of the all-important summer season in June and if travel bans were lifted internationally.