Mallorca warning. | MOHAMMED SABER

Tourism in Turkey is set to return to near pre-pandemic levels this year, boosting the crisis-hit economy with the help of a recent currency crash that has made it a more attractive destination than ever, industry officials say. According to Majorca hoteliers, Turkey has benefitted from the requirement, now scrapped, that British teenagers should have the double vaccine to enter Spain.

The high season starts in May for Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean beaches and historic treasures.

Europeans especially are already booking trips in good news for President Tayyip Erdogan's government, which has adopted a sweeping new economic policy relying heavily on foreign income to curb the current account deficit.

"Early bookings started with high speed. We've got strong bookings especially from Britain. They're almost in line with 2019," said Turkish Hoteliers Federation vice chair Bulent Bulbuloglu.

He said early bookings traditionally start with Britons and are taken as a reference for the season, with strong demand also expected from other European countries, Russia and Central Asia.

Foreign arrivals in Antalya, among Turkey's most popular holiday destinations, totalled 117,818 in January, matching the 2019 level, data showed.

But a further escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis may pose some risk for the season, Bulbuloglu added.