Last year Turkey was removed from the UK’s “travel corridor” over concerns of their reporting of infection rates. Since then the country has ramped up its security measures and is on schedule to deliver a surge in vaccinations.
This week, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, is telling Britons that as soon as the UK travel ban is lifted they are welcome to visit Turkey without any proof of vaccination. What’s more, they may not even need a PCR test this summer.
So when can I go to Turkey?
Holidaymakers can go after 17 May when the UK travel ban will be lifted (assuming all goes well).
Can I buy a flight before that?
Yes. Travel companies are ready to take your booking so that you can travel from 6am on 17 May. For example Tui has a dawn departure from Belfast to Dalaman, with holidays in the resort of Marmaris on sale for £387 per person for a week, including flights, transfers and self-catering accommodation at the Sinem Hotel. Jet2’s first flight from Stansted departs for Izmir, with a self-catering week in Kusadasi at the Happy Apartments from £295 each.Love Holidays are selling 7-day holidays to Turkey in January 2022 from £280 per person
If you want to be one of the first out there, easyJet charging a hefty £284 for a one-way trip from Gatwick to Antalya and that’s for travel at the unseemly time of 6.15am 17 May and a return flight of £166.
What changes will have to happen for a holiday in Turkey?
Assuming it is no longer illegal to travel for a holiday and at the same time Turkey lifts the two weeks of quarantine on travellers who have been in the UK within the previous 10 days that makes it easier to travel there.
On the way back, currently, you need to show a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure, and must quarantine for 10 days at home or in a hotel if arriving back to Scotland. On top of that you must take two more tests on days two and eight after arriving in the UK.
Assuming those measure are not scrapped, Turkish hotels are preparing facilities for testing homebound tourists. Tests can also be carried out for around £25 at the main Turkish airports.
What do I need to show when I get to Turkey?
No proof of a jab is required and it is likely that a PCR test will also not be required.
At the moment you just need a passenger locator form. This form is being globally used so that people can be traced if they are considered at risk of infection. Regarding vaccinations, no proof is required and it is likely that a PCR test will also not be required.
Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Turkey’s minister of culture and tourism, said:
“We will not require vaccination passports from international travellers when entering the country. We will re-evaluate the situation and then decide if we will continue to require negative PCR test results from British citizens entering the country.
“I expect there will be no such requirement from British visitors as the UK government is rapidly, and impressively, rolling out the vaccination programme for the whole nation and a significant portion of the population will be vaccinated by early summer.”
Will I be safe if I holiday in Turkey?
According to Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the country can accept Britons as Turkey will have all the necessary protocols in place to keep everyone safe.
However, Turkey is seeing a sharp rise in infections, up by half in two weeks to a rate of 180 new cases in the past 14 days per 100,000 people. Compared to numbers elsewhere the figures are comparable: UK, 141; Cyprus, 280; Greece, 256; Italy 445; and Malta 833.
Ersoy said Turkey will undergo a vaccination drive before the summer season which prioritises workers at hotels and other tourism operators. Hotels and other accommodation providers in Turkey are required to meet compulsory Covid-safe standards.
As an added measure Turkey will offer an optional insurance package for arriving holidaymakers, priced at around £12. It covers Covid-related expenses such as treatment, medication and emergency care.
Bear in mind that Turkey is not covered by the Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic), so it is essential that you buy a robust travel insurance policy.