A British couple share their experience during Turkey vacation

Is Turkey safe to travel?  EU says NO, Russia says YES.  Why do we care?  Because Turkish tourism is a $30 bn per annum business or 11-15% of Turkish GDP, including positive spill-over effects to employment, agriculture and entertainment.   PA Turkey does not judge the safety of travel to Turkey and makes no recommendations one way or other, but this article in British tabloid the Mirror, explaining the story of Alex and Stuart Scaum ought to give readers an idea.

A Brit couple have lifted the lid on what it’s like to go on holiday to Turkey post-coronavirus lockdown.

Alex and Stuart Scaum bagged bargain flights for just £55 each and flew out to Turkey on July 1 for a 10-night holiday break.

They stayed at a villa owned by Alex’s parent’s in Kusadasi on the  Aegean coast and met up with eight other family members.

The couple from Hull booked their break in May and normally visit Turkey at least three times per year, reports Hull Live. Here’s their holiday experience from start to finish.

Mrs Scaum, 37, said: “We took the car to the airport and did the Meet  and Greet airport parking service as normal.

“We put our masks on to go in and went to the check in desk, then went  through to departures and had our masks on all the time.

“Nothing was open, apart from duty free and Boots.

“There was a lot of people in there but it really quiet. You could see  it was different, it’s normally a lot busier, normally you have to  squeeze through people.

“It was strange, but didn’t bother us. We felt safe enough.”

The flight

“We were due to fly at 3.30pm, but they started boarding us at 2.30pm  and did it row by row.

“They took our temperature before we got on the plane.

“We all sat down, and they tell you that the air they are using to  circulate is from the outside, so said it would be a bit colder than  normal.

“To be honest I felt alright, I sat next to a stranger, I was bothered  at first but everyone had been temperature checked, and it eased you  knowing the air was coming from outside.

“There were two empty rows at the front and six empty rows at the back  so when we took off we asked if we could move and they said course we  could, but that was for comfort really, not because I was sat next to  a stranger.

“Every half an hour they would spray a disinfectant.

“Half way to turkey we got a form to say where we were going, and give  contact details and address.”

“It was all the same as usual.

“We got off the plane and collected our bags. We had a private transfer booked and there was only me and husband and another English lady on our 16 seater bus.

“It did say when we booked it there would be no more than four stops  so they weren’t going to fill it anyway.”

The hotel

“We got there on the Saturday and then an Irish flight came in on the Wednesday.

“We were the only Brits there and usually it’s full of Brits. You feel  sorry for them because it’s so quiet.

“I went into a baby shop and the bloke said he’s real grateful and  said it’s been really hard.

“Here people are panicking, and there’s just none of that there, it  didn’t get mentioned.

“Yes you had your mask on and were not allowed on the bus if you  didn’t have one, they were strict and the driver would turn people  away if they didn’t have a mask.

“It was quieter than normal but you still had Turkish people out.

“We went to the market one day and they take your temperature before  you can get in.

“Apparently they are expecting 47 planes in on July 25 when the  schools are closed, so it will get busier as the weeks go on.

“We also saw lots of hotels getting ready, washing the sunbeds, so  they must have bookings coming up.”

Eating out

“We felt really safe eating and drinking out. Most of them are outside  anyway. All the staff had to wear masks and they spray your hands as  you walk in.

“Some of the bars which rely on tourism were shut so we had to go to  different bars, but it was all brilliant, everyone was real friendly, they were really happy to see us, they were clapping and saying  ‘tourists, welcome.’

“Everything was so dirt cheap too. One night our meal cost £12, and we  had steak, and two beers.

“Everything had to shut down at midnight too.”

The beaches

“The beaches were rammed with Turkish people, it was full, we would go  but not sit on beach as it was full.

“I’m not a sand fan, and I don’t really like the sea so I’m not that  bothered about being on the beach anyway.

“Even if you don’t stay a hotel you can pay to use their facilities  but we couldn’t go swimming in a pool as they were not open yet.

“But Mum and dad found a hotel they could go in to use their pool the  day before we left as more began to open.”

Arriving back in UK

“We didn’t have the temperature check coming home.

“When we arrived in the UK my husband was stopped at customs. He was  just asked where you have been?, was it a direct flight?, did you stop  off anywhere?, where did you stay? And this that.

“There was only 60 people on the flight coming home.”

Mrs Scaum said going away was the best decision they made.

She said: “You do feel like ‘am I doing the right thing?’ But we’ve  come home, we feel fine, we feel refreshed, it was what we needed.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.