World’s leading tour operator cancels summer holidays to Turkey

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Tourism company TUI has announced a cancellation of all holidays to seven destinations, including Turkey, citing the “ongoing uncertainty around travel” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as EU member states prepare to open borders for non-essential travel from third countries. Turkey is excluded from a EU safe travel list that will remain in effect until the end of August barring any developments,  Artı Gerçek news site reported on Sunday.

TUI will only be operating inside borders that the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office allows, it said, citing company spokeswoman Sarah Saucin.

Other cancelled destinations by the tour operator include Tunisia,Mexico, Jamaica, the Maldives, the Dominican Republic and Miami. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday signalled hope for the country’s vital tourism industry, which is suffering from the fallout of the pandemic for the second consecutive summer.

“Our country has gradually started to come off the lists of travel restrictions. We welcome the decision taken by Russia, after France, in this direction,” state-run Anadolu news agency cited Erdoğan as saying. “We will be able to ensure that our tourism professionals seize this opportunity at least in the second half of the 2021 season.”

Turkey’s tourist arrivals were down 54 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, according to the Tourism and Culture Ministry, but the country has hinged hopes on the drop in coronavirus infections following strict lockdown measures in the spring.

Tourism is the biggest source of foreign exchange revenue for Turkey, helping to spur economic growth and to finance its gaping current account deficit, the widest measure of net inflows and outflows of capital and goods. 

Without the income, the country’s financial obligations to the rest of the world must be met through other means, exposing the lira, which was hit with successive lows in 2020, to selling pressure. 

Source: Ahval

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