A man wearing protective face mask takes selfie in front of the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul. | EFE


AS predicted and forecast by UK travel experts and tour operators, Turkey has now joined the race to open up to foreign tourists, in particular Britons, before any other destination in the Mediterranean.

Turkey plans to welcome Britons back by June as it pushes ahead with its vaccine roll out.In comparison, Greece has given 885,000 doses and Spain has given 3.6 million vaccines.According to The Daily Sabah, Turkey has also already been in talks with UK ministers regarding foreign travel, and with the news website saying that tourists will likely start flying into the country from June.

Turkey’s tourism industry has also adopted the Safe Tourism Certification Program, a set of safety and hygiene measures the Turkish government introduced earlier last year. There will be some hesitancy among Britons, following the incident last summer where Turkey was accused of under-reporting their Covid cases. President Tayyip Erdogan’s government only publicly disclosed new coronavirus cases if the patient was showing symptoms, which skewed their national average compared to other countries.

When the reporting discrepancy was discovered, the UK removed their travel corridor with the country that allowed people travelling from the country to skip quarantine.
However, many holidaymakers have short memories as some of the biggest travel companies have seen a surge in bookings to Turkish holiday spots which are extremely popular with Britons.

The news will come as another wake up call for the Spanish and Balearic authorities which are still trying to develop a road map for opening up to foreign tourists.

Over the weekend, UK tour operators called for greater clarity and a more positive message from the Spanish so that the travel industry and consumers know what the protocol is going to be for travelling to Spain - otherwise, destinations like the Balearics, have been warned they could miss out to Greece and now Turkey this summer.

Greece has made it clear it will accept tourists which have either been administered with the vaccine or taken a Covid test.