Turkey's tourism season postponed to post-May

Asian tourists wearing protective masks as they walk in Istiklal street in Istanbul, on January 31, 2020. (File Photo)

Turkey's tourism season is expected to postpone until after-May period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's culture and tourism minister said on Thursday.

"Hopefully, we will see that tourism activities will start again during the Ramadan Feast," Mehmet Nuri Ersoy noted.

Eid ul-Fitr, or Ramadan Feast, will be celebrated at the end of this May in 2020.

He added that the first activities will start with domestic tourists. Turkey has earned $34.5 billion from tourism last year.

The minister urged tourism firms that they can benefit from the Short-Term Employment supports for their personnel.

If a firm's operations are suspended completely or partially due to a Force Majeure, such as the COVID19 pandemic, the government pays their personnel salaries.

"Amount of daily short employment allowance is 60% of daily gross average earning," according to the Turkish Employment Agency.

The virus infected 15,679 people in Turkey and caused 277 deaths so far.

After surfacing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions.

The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 47,500, with nearly 942,000 cases confirmed worldwide, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Around 196,000 have recovered from the infection so far.

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