After a few weeks back in lockdown Turkey hopes to resume tourism and medical tourism from June. While medical travel for hair transplants and other services that can be offered in small private clinics may resume, hospitals will probably struggle for capacity until late 2021.
Turkey is still maintaining its tourism goals for 2021 of 30 million tourists and is hoping Russia, its top source of visitors, will allow flights to resume and remove travel warnings.
The target is subject to Turkey hitting COVID-19 case targets and relies on other countries allowing its citizens to travel to Turkey. There is a local fear that the country will reopen too early and with too few restrictions.
Some Turkish and Russian travel agents see a difficult few months until August, as it will take time for people to book and for countries to remove travel warnings.
Moscow’s decision to halt most flights until June 1 blocked 500,000 tourists. The flight ban could be extended, and Turkey’s foreign and health ministers are negotiating with Russia.
The UK has added Turkey to their red list, which means travel to Turkey is allowed only in the most extreme circumstances and anyone returning has to pay for compulsory hotel quarantine.
The Turkish Medical Association says Turkey’s hospitals are struggling. Hospital beds are already full, particularly the intensive care units, and they are having to open new COVID clinics. The surge in infections came after the government eased restrictions in March, despite opposition warnings.