ISTANBUL, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's COVID-19 vaccination program would help the new tourism season to begin in April, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced on Tuesday.
Ersoy said that the number of daily coronavirus cases is expected to drop below 1,000 until April in the country with the help of mass vaccinations, which would start on Thursday or Friday this week, the Hurriyet daily quoted the minister as saying.
"We believe that the season will begin as of April," Ersoy noted.
The minister noted that this year new important archaeological excavations would be conducted in the southeastern region of the country, and new tourism destinations would be in service of foreign tourists.
He pointed out that Turkey's sector representatives are also working on several other important projects in different regions to diversify the country's tourism products and make them ready for the new season.
"The efforts of expanding the tourism activities to all of the 81 provinces are continuing at full speed," Ersoy said, noting the sector expects a V-shaped recovery this year with a significant growth rate.
"Still we do not have a chance to catch the 2019 figures in 2021, but we hope that we will exceed 23.3 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenue," he also remarked.
In 2019, Turkey's tourism revenue rose to an all-time high, hitting 34.5 billion U.S. dollars with a total of 45 million visitors. The sector shrunk by approximately 70 percent in 2020 as foreign tourist numbers plummeted due to the pandemic.
Currently, restaurants, cafes, and bars are closed across the country, and a nighttime curfew starts at 9 p.m. local time each evening in line with the COVID-19 related limitations. Turkey also applies full lockdown at weekends.