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Turkey expects tourism to surge by up to 70% amid global Covid-19 vaccination drive

Turkey is expected to see an increase in tourist flows of up to 70% in 2021, according to Firuz Baglikaya, who heads the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), as immunization against coronavirus picks up the pace in Turkey and around the world.

“More than 400 million people have been vaccinated worldwide, the total number of people who have been vaccinated in Turkey has exceeded 13 million,” he said in a written statement seen by TASS.

The official highlighted that Turkey is due to receive another 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Our request to give priority to vaccination of workers engaged in the tourism sector was met with approval by the government,” Baglikaya said, adding that the measure would ensure the industry was ready to welcome international tourists.

Turkish tour operators reportedly expect the first groups of holidaymakers to start arriving from Russia and Ukraine – crucial sources of tourists for Turkey – starting mid-April.

In 2020, the Turkish tourism sector, choked by the coronavirus pandemic, saw a grim year as the number of foreigners visiting the country dropped 71.7% compared to the previous 12 months, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Global travel restrictions and lockdowns provoked an immense year-on-year drop of more than 65% in Turkey’s tourism revenues, which amounted to 12.6 billion US dollars last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

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