The British ambassador to Turkey on Wednesday praised Ankara’s measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dominick Chilcott told Anadolu Agency that his visit to the promotional Rediscover Turkey program in the southern Antalya province on June 19 had been very useful and valuable to see “at first hand the measures taken by authorities to make travel to Turkey safe.”

Chilcott recounted that Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy had detailed the country’s “Safe Tourism Certification Program,” listing 130 criteria to maintain high hygiene and health standards.

“I was impressed to see how strictly the measures were being applied at the airports and hotels to ensure the safety of tourists,” Chilcott added.

Noting that the UK government last week announced changes in its approach to international travel, he said the government had removed its recommendation against traveling to Turkey due to its “success to date in controlling the virus and having seen the rigour of the ‘safe tourism certification’ scheme.”

“[UK] will no longer impose 14 days quarantine on people arriving in England from Turkey,” Chilcott added.

He also stressed, however, that tourism would obviously be harmed by COVID-19 this summer.

“But I hope that, after the recent decision of the UK government, Turkey will continue to remain a top destination for British tourists,” he said.

“There has been a sharp increase in the number of British tourists coming to Turkey in the last two years. 2.3 million British nationals came to Turkey in 2018 and over 2.5 million in 2019. I hope this trend will continue in the coming years.”

*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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