TURKEY hotels have been caught ignoring safety guidelines and social distancing despite promises of “safe tourism” certificates.
In a bid to encourage tourists to return, hotels and resorts have been signing up to the scheme backed by the government which proves they are following 132 safety measures set out.
Any hotel with more than 50 rooms must prove they have followed the guidelines to be able to open, with health inspections proving additional cleaning, social distancing and new safety procedures are in place.
However, an investigation by The Times has found many hotels are still failing to follow the new rules.
A five-star hotel which was certified to be following the safe tourism plans failed to enforce social distancing with a busy bar and restaurant despite still not being at full capacity.
Guests were also not wearing masks, with staff being forced to wear them while serving, while other hotels still had shared implements including food tongs at food service stations.
Masks were rarely spotted while in popular tourist areas such as the beach and resorts, or those that did wear them, having them on without covering the mouth or nose.
Problems occurred at the airport too, with two-hour tests at Istanbul Airport taking six hours during an arduous process, with little English instruction.
Brits are yet to return in their hoards, however, with the majority of the clientele being Russian and domestic Turkish tourists.
Last year, approximately 2.5m Brits visited, with an average spend of £530 per holiday, as many tourists are known for spending high amounts on boozy trips.
Despite this, UK tourists have failed to return with many instead heading to Spain, a short plane ride away with cheap deals, or staying in the UK for a safer staycation holiday.
A couple who went on holiday to Turkey following the lockdown said that while cafes and bars are empty, with additional cleaning taking place, the beaches are still packed with Turkish tourists.
Alex and Stuart Scaum, from Hull, explained: “The beaches were rammed with Turkish people, it was full, we would go but not sit on the beach as it was full.”
However, bargains could also be found, with dinner and beers costing just £12, and warned that local establishments were fearing what it could mean if Brits don’t return soon.
Brits heading to Turkey could find a more expensive holiday, however.
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Some parts of the country, including Bodrum, Dalaman and Marmaris, are fining £100 for anyone caught without a face mask on.
Resorts have also raised their prices to try and recoup profits.
A hotel beach bar in Bodrum has been found charging 369 lira (£43) for a doner kebab and 550 lira (£65) to guests who want to swim in the sea.