Turkey seeks to help tourism industry with credit card measures

Turkey took steps to help its beleaguered tourism firms raise more revenue by easing restrictions on payments for holidays and flights by credit card.

Consumers will be allowed to pay for airline tickets and hotel stays over an 18-month period compared with 12 months previously, the Trade Ministry said in a decision published in the Official Gazette on Thursday.  

The Turkish authorities are seeking to kickstart the tourism industry after ending lockdowns and travel restrictions on the population in place since reporting its first case of the coronavirus on March 11. The European Union, which supplies the most tourists to Turkey, has yet to lift travel warnings on the country.

Earlier this week, Germany, which provided Turkey with the most tourists after Russia last year, said warnings on travel would remain in place and continued to classify Turkey as a country where there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

The Turkish government has pressured Germany and other countries to end the restrictions saying hotels and airlines have taken comprehensive steps to ensure that Turkey is a safe place to visit, including social distancing measures and health checks.

Italy, France and Greece are now open to tourists from Germany and some other EU nations, putting Turkey's tourism industry at a disadvantage to several of its main competitors.