Coronavirus situation

COVID-19 Update

Coronavirus or COVID-19 came alive in December 2019 and has spread to around 190 countries and territories. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a pandemic in 2020. The number of globally confirmed cases is over 242 million while the death toll now exceeds 4,9 million and counting. Since the situation of COVID-19 has been rapidly evolving and the number of infections has increased substantially in numerous countries worldwide, further restrictions are implemented regarding the hosting of events, congresses, business and leisure travel by governments and health authorities in order to contain this coronavirus. Some counties have banned sporting events, temporarily shuttering museums and other tourist attractions because of the coronavirus, even took measures of partial or complete curfews.

As COVID-19 affects travel plans around the world, if you are traveling make sure that your destination has not restricted your arrival before embarking on an international trip, keeping in mind that the situation is evolving quickly and new restrictions are likely.

In this climate, travel may not be your first thought. As licensed tour guides in Turkey we want you to know the safety and wellbeing of our guests and associates is our top priority. Our hearts and thoughts are with all those affected by COVID-19, as well as their families, friends and loved ones. Like you, we have been moved by its vast and growing impact. We understand that your travel plans might change over the next few months and at short notice, so we are waiving our cancellation fees for any guided tour booked through until the end of 2021.

How to Protect Yourself?

These basic steps can help you reduce your risk of getting sick or infecting others;

  • Stay at home if you can. Work from home. If you do need to travel by plane, it's a good idea to use alcohol wipes to clean tray tables, bathroom handles and other parts of the plane that you might touch that may not regularly sanitized by the flight crew.
  • Wash your hands - wash your hands - wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid public transportation when possible. Limit nonessential travel.
  • Skip social gatherings; don't go to crowded places, any dense area of people will increase risk of exposure.
  • Keep social distance; maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
  • Stay informed. Listen to local authorities and official health organizations

COVID-19 situation in Turkey

Is it safe to travel to tourist spots in Turkey? Well, the answer is the same as all over the world...

First Novel Coronavirus case in Turkey was seen on 11th of March 2020 and first loss of life was on 18th of March. As of 18th of October 2021, there are 65,778 confirmed deaths in the country and the total number of cases since the beginning are 7,4 million so far. The figures reached the "peak" by the end of April 2020 and constantly dropped until the end of Summer 2020, after which it started to raise again by Autumn and Winter, then down and up again in 2021. Public vaccinations against the virus started in January 2021 and still being carried out.

Turkey closed its border gates to all incoming visitors and suspended all flights in March 2020. Foreigners and Turkish citizens coming in from abroad had to spend 14 days of quarantine under the surveillance of health ministry, which is then lifted off in Summer of 2020. Domestic and International flights resumed gradually since the beginning of June 2020. No visitors are put into quarantine on arrival. Since the beginning of 2021, passengers arriving from certain countries abroad are required to have taken a PCR test with a negative result within 72 hours prior to their flight and they should have a HES code, which tracks his/her Covid situation on a health database.

There was no state of emergency in Turkey due to the coronavirus outbreak, but for few months in the beginning there were some partial lockdowns such as during weekends and inter-city travel restrictions by air and land, which were lifted off from 1st of June until mid-November of 2020. Due to the raise of the cases again in Autumn, partial lockdowns were re-implemented starting from 20th of November 2020. During the outbreak, citizens were requested to self-quantine at home for 2 weeks; Citizens of over 65 years of age and under 20 years of age were restricted to go outside homes. Schools and universities, cinemas and theaters, cafeterias, bars and nightclubs, many shops, swimming pools and gyms, stadiums, wedding halls, mosques were closed for about 2 - 2,5 months. Restaurants didn't accept seated clients but only take away or online orders. All sports events and meetings or congresses were suspended or postponed. Supermarkets and groceries, pharmacies, hospitals were open every day.

As of now in Turkey: Shopping malls and stores re-opened in May 2020; Mosques opened to prayers as of 29th of May 2020; Flights resumed as of 1st of June 2020; Restaurants, cafeterias, swimming pools and gyms operated regularly from June 1st until November 20th, then re-closed and then re-opened starting from 2nd of March 2021; Cinemas and wedding halls opened from 1st of July until 20th of November, then they're closed again for some time and then re-opened in 2021. Most museums and tourist sites are open regularly. Schools are also open regularly. There are no restrictions, no lockdown and no quarantines as of today. Inter-city travels are done regularly; but from 6th of September 2021 you should be vaccinated twice or at least show a negative PCR test in order to board the flights or intercity busses or trains, enter cinemas or theaters. You should wear your mask at all times and respect social distancing, of course. All passengers arriving from abroad are required to have taken a PCR test with a negative result.

For more reading on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel safety, please check below official links:

Coronavirus disease travel advice by WHO
COVID-19 travel warning by CDC
Coronavirus Disease 2019 by US Department of State
Travel advice Coronavirus by UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office