A British couple believed to be among the first passengers to fly out of Britain after lockdown have revealed what it’s like being on holiday in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, the Hull Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Alex and Stuart Scaum returned home this week after ten nights in Kuşadası on the Aegean coast, having flown out on July 1. The couple said they had never felt safer.

“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, Alex Scaum said.

“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.’”

She said rules over wearing of masks was strict on transportation and in shops, and the hotel swimming pools were closed. The couple stayed at a family-owned villa.

She said the beaches were busy with local people.

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

But there were very few tourists. “We were the only Brits there and usually it’s full of Brits. You feel sorry for them [the locals] because it’s so quiet.”

Turkey is seeking to revive its vital $35 billion tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with a new “healthy tourism certificate” programme.

The certificates are awarded by international institutions and set criteria for health and hygiene in airlines, airports and across other transportation, as well as at hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes.

In June, Britain said it would allow travel to and from Turkey without the need to quarantine, giving a boost to Turkish efforts to kickstart its tourism season.

However, Turkey was excluded from the European Union’s list of countries for safe travel, as the European Council deemed Turkey’s containment of the coronavirus worse than the EU average.
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