BRITS hoping to travel to Turkey on vacation this summer may have to wait a little longer, as the country faces a second wave of Covid.
Last month, the daily rate of cases reached pandemic highs of 63,000, forcing Turkey to enter its first full lockdown.
The tourism industry fears another lost season, with hopes the current lockdown will allow vacation bookings to return in time for summer.
Istanbul-based Cem Polatoglu told local media: “The lockdown decision is unlikely to save the season.”
Even if cases drop below 5,000 at the end of the month – yesterday the country reported 24,000 cases daily – then he said that still means “lose July too” because countries will not lift the ban on travel on time.
Tourism accounts for around 12% of Turkey’s economy, with 45 million tourists in 2019, a record for the country, but fell 71% last year.
The president of the Turkish Hotel Federation, Sururi Corabatir, told Reuters: “We had hopes for 2021. Unfortunately, the number of cases has not been at the desired levels.”
In early March, Turkish officials said they were ready to let in unvaccinated British tourists, provided they tested negative.
But the UK is unlikely to add Turkey to its list of “green” countries, which is due to be announced on Friday.
Green List destinations, which will not require Brit to self-quarantine upon returning to the UK, are expected to be small from May 17, including destinations such as Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar, l ‘Iceland and Israel.
Turkey will likely be on the Amber or Red List, which will require a mandatory 10-day UK quarantine.
Under restrictions in Turkey, in place until at least May 17, residents must stay at home, but for essential shopping and to receive emergency medical treatment.
Travel between cities will require official approval, while schools are closed and public transport capacity is severely limited.
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Traditional holiday hot spots including France, Spain, Greece and Italy look set to be classified as amber at the moment as Europe battles a spike in cases.
Meanwhile, a source has claimed that even countries on the Green List could be replaced by the Red List with little warning if cases unexpectedly increase or if a worrying new variant is identified.
Portugal and Cyprus hope to welcome British tourists from mid-May.