ISTANBUL: Turkey's tourism sector needs to develop a new system, which will be based on ecological values and nature, in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, according to Ali Can Aksu, head of the Turkish Hotel Managers Association.
"We should deliver a new message to the world and say that we are now at peace with nature and environment," Aksu said at an online press conference in Istanbul on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
For Aksu, the tourism industry has long neglected local tastes, organic products, and the environment, putting the consumption notion in the foreground.
"We have seen the end of a couple of billion-dollar worth of hotels in the face of the pandemic. Their system didn't work," he added.
In his view, the sector should forget the all-inclusive structure of mass tourism, which is not sustainable anymore and head towards the village tourism.
"The old system praises quantity versus quality, degrading the importance of qualified tourism personnel," he also pointed out.
The cost of the COVID-19 pandemic to Turkish tourism this year would be 30 billion U.S. dollars, according to Aksu.
The country's annual tourism revenues had reached 34.5 billion dollars in 2019.
On May 28, the Turkish government decided to ease the COVID-19 restrictions, announcing a series of normalization steps, as the figures related to the COVID-19 cases have been in decline for several weeks.
Restaurants, cafes, parks, beaches, sports facilities, including swimming pools, and museums resumed operation, and the ban on domestic travel was lifted in line with the new measures.
However, Aksu said it would take some more time for people to go on vacation, or eat in restaurants with clear minds.
"I am a huge fan of gourmet tourism, but I will shun from going out to eat at least till the end of this year over pandemic concerns," he said, noting that around 60 percent of Turkish people are also very cautious and will prefer to wait a little longer for everything to be safer.
Aksu, therefore, urged the government to create long-term incentives for the sector, noting that the normalization could take more time than expected.