Travel & Tourism

In pictures: Turkey’s booming tourism sector takes a hit from coronavirus

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced Turkey to close its borders, affecting the country’s vital tourism industry.

Turkey’s tourism industry has been growing at an unprecedented speed for the last three years. With the border closure and the grounding of all outgoing and incoming flights to tackle the coronavirus threat, tourist arrivals have come to a near standstill.

The country’s tourist hotspots and cultural destinations are almost empty, with a majority of 80 million Turks staying indoors and following the government’s home-quarantine advisory.

Prior to coronavirus, most Turkish cities were teeming with locals and visitors in the streets. Almost all squares and historic and natural tourist spots are now deserted.

A drone photo shows an aerial view of empty Galata Bridge and its surroundings, after authorities urging people to stay home as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions on March 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey.
A drone photo shows an aerial view of empty Galata Bridge and its surroundings, after authorities urging people to stay home as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions on March 24, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (AA)

Following the growth trend experienced in previous years, in 2019 the number of incoming tourists in Turkey increased by 13.7 percent, reaching 51.8 million people and setting an all-time record.

A drone photo shows nearly empty Sultanahmet Square while people stay at their homes as a precautions against coronavirus (Covid-19) in Istanbul, Turkey on March 18, 2020.
A drone photo shows nearly empty Sultanahmet Square while people stay at their homes as a precautions against coronavirus (Covid-19) in Istanbul, Turkey on March 18, 2020. (AA)

Before the coronavirus pandemic’s catastrophic impact on all kinds of economic activities, Turkey had set the goal of reaching the target of hosting 75 million guests by 2023.

A worker sprays disinfectant outside Ortakoy Mosque, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, March 23, 2020.
A worker sprays disinfectant outside Ortakoy Mosque, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, March 23, 2020. (Reuters)

According to recent data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), Turkey’s tourism sector continues to experience a positive trend and, together with the rising number of incoming tourists, the country is likely to earn $34.5 billion from the tourism industry alone, marking a historic milestone.

Shops are closed up and shuttered as Turkey's Istanbul goes through quiet times following the warnings to stay at home due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on March 24, 2020.
Shops are closed up and shuttered as Turkey’s Istanbul goes through quiet times following the warnings to stay at home due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on March 24, 2020. (AA)

Istanbul is the cultural and historic capital of Turkey and the most populated city in the country with 15.5 million.

Few citizens are at the world-famous Konyaaltı beach, in Antalya, which is preferred by millions of people to swim every year. Those who want to sunbathe also paid attention to the distance between them.
Few citizens are at the world-famous Konyaaltı beach, in Antalya, which is preferred by millions of people to swim every year. Those who want to sunbathe also paid attention to the distance between them. (AA)

Istanbul and Antalya were at the top of the most visited destinations. Both of these cities hosted nearly 30 million tourists last year.

Antalya has become a brand renowned around the world in recent years. It has more than 1,700 attractions together with a 600,000 bed capacity when it comes to accommodation.

A drone photo shows empty Konak Square after precautions against coronavirus (Covid-19), including call for
A drone photo shows empty Konak Square after precautions against coronavirus (Covid-19), including call for “stay home” and the curfew to people over 65, are taken in Izmir, Turkey on March 23, 2020. (AA)

The combination of breathtaking natural beauty along with great food makes Turkey one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

The coastal city Izmir offers separate alternatives not only with sea, sand, sun but also with its historical and natural beauty.

The famous beaches and roads were remained empty in Marmaris, Mugla, Turkey.
The famous beaches and roads were remained empty in Marmaris, Mugla, Turkey. (AA)

Mugla’s popular resort towns on the Aegean shore, Bodrum and Marmaris, attract tourists from all over the world with their unique landscape, white summer houses and local hospitality. However, at this time all these beaches are empty.

The picture shows gathered seats of a cafeteria at the beach next to historic Bodrum Castle on 23 March, 2020, Bodrum district of Mugla, Turkey.
The picture shows gathered seats of a cafeteria at the beach next to historic Bodrum Castle on 23 March, 2020, Bodrum district of Mugla, Turkey. (AA)

In order to support the vital industry, the government has approved loans specific to the tourism sector will be restructured with a grace period of up to 12 months.

Source: TRT World

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