Turkey holidays: British tourists rush to book holidays after red list removal

Simon Calder says current UK travel rules are a ‘mess’

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While arrivals are still down from pre-pandemic levels, the popular tourist destinations of Dalaman and Antalya have seen tourist numbers grow since the restrictions were lifted. Before the pandemic, around 2.3 million British tourists visited Turkey for a holiday every year.

Antalya welcomed 1.8 million foreign tourists this August, before British tourists were able to visit the resort area.

In the absence of Brits, Russian tourists were the biggest group of international travellers visiting Turkey this summer.

Travel experts had criticised the UK Government for lagging behind other countries when it came to lifting travel restrictions.

Turkey was added to the red list in May and remained there for the whole of summer, ruining many British families’ holiday plans.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “The resumption of our award-winning flights and package holidays to Turkey is fantastic news for holidaymakers.

“We are delighted to be recommencing flights and holidays to Antalya and Dalaman and to be taking customers once again to these much-loved destinations.

“Customers have missed being able to visit Turkey this summer, so the reopening of the country has resulted in huge demand and comes just in time for holidaymakers to enjoy some late summer sun.”

Jet2 and Jet2holidays reported a 1,000 percent increase in bookings after the restrictions were lifted.

Antalya is known as the gateway to the ‘Turquoise Coast’ for its stunning blue Mediterranean waters.

Turkey is a fantastic choice for winter sun as the hot weather lasts well into the autumn season.

With 600km of coastline, British tourists have a great range of beach options whether they’re looking for family fun or adventure sports.

History fans can also pay a visit to Hadrian’s Gate, an incredible historic ruin dating from 130AD.

Mask wearing is compulsory in Turkey and face masks must be worn in all shops and restaurants.

According to the UK Government travel advice, British tourists visiting Turkey will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

Over 80 percent of the Turkish population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

Double-jabbed British tourists will need to take a pre-departure test before arrival in the UK until October 4.

Later on in October, expensive day two PCR tests will also be replaced with lateral flow tests but the Government has not yet provided an exact date.

Families hoping to save money on October holidays could be disappointed if the testing regulations are not scrapped by half term.

The delay on scrapping PCRs is reportedly due to a shortage of lateral flow tests across the UK.

All British tourists visiting Turkey are advised to check local rules and regulations as restrictions can change quickly.

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