Malaysian envoy to Turkey said both countries can work hand-in-hand in the tourism sector as the coronavirus pandemic forced the worst-hit sector to renew its rules and services, bringing health safety issue on the frontline.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in the Turkish capital Ankara, Charge D’affaires Arhan Syafrisyah Shah Anuar applauded Ankara’s initiative for a new “healthy tourism certificate” program.

“I personally think it’s a bold and good move that the government of Turkey made the initiative, to showcase to the world that Turkey’s tourism under a safe guideline is back opening its doors to all.”

Shah Anuar’s statement came after Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced that more than 2,000 hotels finalized measures to receive the ministry’s “safe to visit” certificate.

Addressing the event, where more than 50 countries’ ambassadors and tourism sector representatives attended, Ersoy said 400 hotels have implemented the entire 132 criteria and received the certificate so far.

Ankara, with the aim of restarting the tourism industry this summer, has reopened half of the country’s tourism facilities in line with the new coronavirus-free certificate program.

“I think the certificate is a good initiative to inspire those in the industry, that could encourage those from hoteliers to service providers etc to equip and ready themselves to meet the standard , for inspection and obtaining the certificate. With the certificate, it would be a win-win for all,” said the Malaysian envoy.

“As you know, Visit Malaysia Year 2020 had to be canceled due to COVID-19, unfortunately. Maybe both Malaysia and Turkey tourism entities could collaborate, starting small, inspired by the event in [the Mediterranean resort city of] Antalya, to have some kind of visits by people from Turkey and Malaysia visiting each other to places that is already certified ‘safe and ready’ by both government’s tourism body,” he added.

The Safe Tourism Certification, issued under the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s leadership and run in partnership with the Foreign Ministry, covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation and health conditions both for hospitality employees and tourists, according to the Tourism Ministry.

The certificate, which has been granted by international certification institutions, validates the execution of high-level health and hygiene requirements at airline companies, airports and other transport stations, as well as in accommodation outlets and food and beverage facilities.

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