Turkey’s plan to vaccinate workers in the tourism industry is drawing praise from industry leaders.

The decision will put Turkey “one step ahead of our competitors for safer tourism,” Ulkay Atmaca, head of the Professional Hotel Managers Association of Turkey (POYD), told Anadolu Agency.

“The vaccination of tourism workers will give Turkey an edge in the race,” he added.

On Friday, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry announced its Tourism Personnel Vaccination Registration System as part of its Safe Tourism Certification Program.

Atmaca added the measures Turkey took during the pandemic set an example for the world.

Saying that facilities that did not open last year but are set to open this year are working to get safety certificates, Atmaca stressed vaccinating the sector’s workers will have very positive results.

“The vaccination schedule will be determined in the coming days. Our priority is to vaccinate industry employees,” he added, saying this would boost their “peace of mind.”

Kaan Kavaloglu, vice head of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association, said that following healthcare and security personnel, one of the occupational groups hardest hit by the pandemic was tourism employees.

“The decision to vaccinate tourism workers was quite correct,” Kavaloglu said.

Touting the importance of vaccinating tourism workers for tourists heading to holidays in Turkey, he said Turkey “has been at the forefront with its secure tourism certification.”

“It’s important to first and foremost vaccinate all sectors that have a lot of contact with people. We want not only the tourism sector but also all service sector employees to be vaccinated this way,” he added.

Noting that Turkey offers healthy and safe holiday facilities, Kavaloglu said that tour operators around the world – including Europeans and Russians –appreciate safe tourism.

In January, Turkey began a mass COVID-vaccination campaign, and a gradual normalization from coronavirus restrictions began on March 1.​​​​​​​

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