ANTALYA, Turkey

The resumption of flights between Turkey and Russia amid strong measures to fight coronavirus set off a flood of tourists, as nearly 40,000 Russian tourists landed in the resort city of Antalya in two days.

“Some 22,000 Russian tourists arrived yesterday [Tuesday]. Today, we started to host 17,571 Russian guests,” Antalya Governor Ersin Yazici told a news conference. Yazici said all necessary measures against the novel coronavirus were in place in Antalya.

“I hope the German tourists will come soon and the tourism sector will be more active,” he added.

Stressing that Antalya is among the cities with the least number of COVID-19 cases compared to its population, Yazici said, “Antalya is one of the safest cities. There is no case that threatens the city. We invite all local and foreign tourists to the capital of tourism.”

Over 23,000 Russian tourists landed Monday at the popular Mediterranean resort, an early adopter of Turkey’s Safe Tourism Certificate program.

Antalya is a favorite destination for Russians as last year they made up some 5.6 million of the 15 million visitors to the seaside resort, according to Antalya tourism officials.

The governor said urgent diagnosis kits for COVID-19 are sufficient in the city, adding that tourists are tested for COVID-19 on return to their countries.

Referring to the possibility of positive cases in foreign tourists, Yazici said every hotel has set up a quarantine room, and that tourists who need to stay in a hospital will be treated for a fee.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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