There is no doubt that Turkey has seen a considerable rise in tourist activity amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Turkey was among the few countries that lifted travel restrictions on foreign tourists/travellers back in June. Also, it was one of the first nations to eliminate all COVID-19 related entry requirements for tourists. Hence, it emerged as one of the most sought-after destinations among travellers.
Turkey has allowed travellers from around the globe to visit without undergoing testing or quarantining for months. That’s why many travellers decided to visit Turkey in the pandemic era. However, the Turkish government was forced to impose nationwide curfew after observing a considerable increase in the number of coronavirus patients across the country. As per the November statistics, Turkey has a total of 421.413 reported cases, and the death toll reaches 11.704.
On November 17, 2020, the Government of Turkey imposed a partial nationwide curfew that came into effect from November 20 onward. Now, the country will remain closed on Saturday 8 p.m. to Sunday 10 a.m., and from Sunday 8 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m. On weekdays, the elderly are allowed to travel within the city from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Young adults (20-year-olds or below) can stay out between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.
Turkish President Tayyip ErdoÄŸan announced new restrictions on the movement of tourists and residents to curb the spread of coronavirus infection. According to the latest guidelines from the government, tourists visiting Turkey with a short-term temporary visa will be exempted from the curfew restrictions. The Ministry of Interior stated that “foreign tourists who are temporarily in our country within the scope of touristic activities will be exempted from the curfew restrictions.”
Previously, Turkey had imposed restrictions on the movement of Senior Citizens (people aged 65 or above) after 8 p.m. In the new curfew guidelines, the age group has been revised. Now the curfew is expanded to include people aged 20 or below.
The drawback of the newly imposed curfew for tourists is that they won’t be able to try traditional Turkish tea or dine freely at restaurants or cafes. The government has closed all Turkish tea houses. Moreover, independent restaurants and restaurants/cafes located inside hotels can only provide catering services to accommodation customers and cannot offer a takeaway facility. All the cinemas across Turkey have been closed. Boats and Yachts facilitating sea tourism cannot provide food or beverages to customers onboard for sightseeing. The new curfew will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.
It is worth noting that there are no changes in the coronavirus test or quarantine requirements for tourists. Furthermore, the entry and exit requirements will also remain as before. Travellers arriving in Turkey will have to complete a form and will undergo routine checking for coronavirus symptoms.
If anyone is suspected of coronavirus infection, they will be transported to a medical care facility for further examination. If tested positive, they will be requested to self-isolate or stay in a dormitory. Tourists don’t need to provide any specific health documents for entering or exiting Turkey unless they are visiting for medical treatment purposes.
Professional tourist guides and drivers offering intercity and intra-city travel services to foreign tourists will continue to provide a tour, transfer, and guiding activities. They will be exempted from weekend curfew restrictions since tourists with temporary visas do not come under the scope of the curfew.