British travel companies taking bookings for Turkey from mid-May

Turkey has not been included on a red list of Britain’s traffic light classification system for travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning its citizens could holiday in the country from the middle of May, the Daily Express reported on Wednesday.

Travel agents in Britain are taking bookings for Turkey for after May 17, the Daily Express said. The British government has only placed a few highest-risk countries, such as India, on the red list, it said.

Turkey is seeking to re-open its tourism season to pull in foreign currency revenue to the economy that would help it finance a widening current account deficit and alleviate selling pressure on the beleaguered lira. Tourism firms are among the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases of the virus in Turkey rose to daily record highs last week.

Countries on Britain’s green list will still require travellers to present negative PCR tests, but not quarantine for any length of time upon their return, the newspaper said.

A final classification for travel will be made in early May, the Express cited Aviation Minister Robert Courts as saying.

The British government will decide on which list to place Turkey and other countries based on vaccination rates, COVID-19 prevalence, the extent of variants, and a capacity for genome sequencing of the virus, the Express said. Economic and political factors may also come into play, it said.

Some 2.5 million Britons visited Turkey in 2019, before global travel restrictions affected tourist numbers. The country has become a favourite travel destination for Brits in recent years.