Flight bookings to Turkey jumped when it was taken off Germany’s list of high-risk COVID countries, according to the CEO of the popular Turkish-German carrier SunExpress.
"We believe we’ve jumped this hurdle, and our booking numbers are reflecting this trend. And so we really believe in a strong summer," Max Kownatzki told Anadolu Agency Friday.
Kownatzki praised Turkey's measures amid the pandemic, such as the coronavirus contact tracing HES system and Safe Tourism Certification Program as making travelling much easier.
The Safe Tourism Certification covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation, and health conditions for tourists and hospitality employees alike.
Domestic demand was relatively stable even during the lockdown, Kownatzki explained.
"Everybody had to stay home over the last couple of months, and they're eager to get out, to go to their lovely beach or mountain nature vacation," he noted.
The airline recently got over 150,000 bookings per week, overtaking pre-pandemic levels, Kownatzki said, adding:
"Our yields are positive, even compared to 2019. On international routes, we've seen increases of about 150% week-on-week in bookings compared to 2019."
Kownatzki also said people are shifting towards early bookings rather than last-minute tickets.
"A couple of months ago, 75% of our bookings happened within the last four to seven days. Now this number has come down to 58%. So people are booking further out," he explained.
"There's a huge interest in Turkey as a destination with its warm-hearted people, fantastic food, beautiful nature and nice beaches," he added.