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 33 million while the death toll now exceeds 1 million and rising. 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 2020.

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 are 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 26th of September 2020, there are 7,929 confirmed deaths in the country and the total number of cases are 313 thousand out of over 9,9 million tests conducted. The figures reached the "peak" by the end of April and is constantly dropping since then.

Turkey closed its border gates to all incoming visitors and suspended all flights in March. Foreigners and Turkish citizens coming in from abroad had to spend 14 days of quarantine under the surveillance of health ministry, which is now lifted. Domestic and International flights started to resume gradually since the beginning of June 2020. No visitors are put into quarantine.

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 are lifted off as of 1st of June 2020. During the outbreak, citizens were requested to self-quantine at home for 2 weeks; Citizens of 65+ years of age and less than 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 on 11th of May; Mosques opened to prayers as of 29th of May; Flights resumed as of 1st of June; Restaurants, cafeterias, swimming pools and gyms opened as of June 1st. Cinemas and wedding halls opened as 1st of July. There are no restrictions or quarantines as of today. You should wear your mask at all times and respect social distancing, of course.

For more reading on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel, 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