Germany ends travel warning on top Turkish tourist resorts

Germany lifted a warning on travel to Turkey’s top holiday regions in a decision on Tuesday.

The warnings were dropped for the provinces of Antalya, Izmir, Aydın and Muğla, the German foreign ministry said on Tuesday, according to Reuters. The areas include tourist resorts such as Bodrum, Fethiye, Kuşadası, Kemer, Side, Alanya and Belek.

The Turkish government will require all travellers to show a negative coronavirus test result obtained within two days of travel, Reuters said. Germany cited low infection rates in the resorts, which it said stood at only five new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

Turkey has been calling on Germany and other European countries to lift travel warnings on the country, saying they were unjust and possibly designed to help boost demand for holidays to countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy. Tourism is a vital source of foreign currency revenue for Turkey – it earned almost $35 billion from the industry last year - as it battles to keep the lira stable after a currency crisis in 2016.

The German foreign ministry said travel warnings could be reintroduced for the resorts should the pandemic worsen. Germany provided the second highest number of tourists to Turkey last year after Russia. More than 3 million German citizens are of Turkish origin.

Turkey’s government reported a spike in cases of COVID-19 in an announcement on Tuesday. Infections had risen to a daily 1,083 from levels below 1,000 over recent weeks, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Statements by hospital doctors and medical associations in Turkey in recent days have thrown doubt on official rates of infection. The Turkish capital of Ankara has seen a particularly large increase, with 1,000 new cases reported daily, the Ankara Medical Chamber said on Tuesday, according to the Duvar news website.

This week, the government warned Turkish citizens to be vigilant and self-quarantine if needed after millions of people descended on the country’s main tourist resorts over a religious holiday spanning last weekend. Many people were ignoring social distancing rules, according to press reports.

German Travel Association DRV welcomed the move by the government, Reuters said.

“One of Germans’ favourite tourist destinations is partially open again,” said DRV president Norbert Fiebig. “Good news not just for holidaymakers but also for the travel business.