Turkey still sees 30 million tourists in 2021 if lockdown succeeds

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Turkey will still expect to welcome 30 million arrivals this year, twice the number last year, if daily coronavirus cases fall below 5,000 after a lockdown ends on May 17, Tourism and Culture Minister Mehmet Ersoy said on Monday.

“Turkey took much more drastic measures. We are already seeing that the number of cases is going down much faster in the last week. If our guess proves to be correct, the number of cases will go below 5000 by May 17,” he said in a statement to Reuters.

“As of June 1, we will open the tourist season and if we can reduce the number of daily cases below 5,000, we maintain our target of 30 million tourists this year,” Ersoy added.

The government made that prediction earlier this year, before COVID-19 cases shot up to record levels in April, briefly ranking Turkey second globally before it dropped back to fourth spot.

Ersoy had also previously predicted more than $23 billion in tourism revenues this year.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s government imposed the lockdown last week including curfews and the closure of schools and many businesses. New daily cases have fallen since April 21 and touched 25,980 on Sunday, official data showed.

Photo: People sit near the Bosphorus in front of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque during the lockdown in Istanbul, Turkey. EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

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