The Indonesian ambassador to Turkey on Wednesday said Turkey took proper preventive measures before reopening the tourism sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said the Turkish government introduced health risk mitigation measures by ensuring the availability of designated hospitals for foreign travelers.
“Turkey reopened and modified an old airport into a hospital for foreigners. If they tested positive for COVID-19, they will be treated there. The treatment cost will be covered by the government,” said Iqbal during a virtual discussion.
The foreign tourists in Turkey that have tested positive for the disease are less than 0.01% of the total foreigners, according to Iqbal.
In the third quarter of 2020, as many as 6.4 million foreign tourists visited Turkey. So far, nearly 10 million tourists have visited the country this year.
“The number of foreign tourists from June to September showed a rapid increase,” he added.
In terms of revenue, Iqbal predicted that tourism sector can become a significant source of Turkey’s foreign exchange revenue this year, even more than last year’s revenue.
In 2019, foreign exchange earnings from tourism amounted to $34 billion.
Besides, he continued, reopening the tourism sector means giving a ray of hope to people who lost their income for around three months.
The ambassador added that other factors that determine Turkey’s success in the tourism sector are the connectivity between tourist attractions, airlines with massive network and incentives and stimulus package by the government.
*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency's Indonesian-language service in Jakarta