Over 30 mln foreigners visited Turkey in first 11 months of 2017
Turkey attracted 30.7 million foreign visitors in the first 11 months of 2017, amid a skyrocketing rise in the number of Russian arrivals in the country, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced on Dec. 29.
The ministry said the figure rose by over a quarter - 27.7 percent - on a yearly basis, compared to 24 million in January-November 2016. The number of foreign arrivals saw a 22.13 percent year-on-year increase in November, hitting 1.65 million.
Russian nationals made up the largest group of visitors, with a 15.3 percent of share in total arrivals - some 4.6 million - in the first 11 months of the year, followed by Germans (11.2 percent) and Iranians (7.5 percent).
The number of Russian arrivals in Turkey saw a 465 percent year-on-year increase over this period.
The month seeing the most foreign visits was July with around 5.1 million, followed by August with 4.6 million.
Official data also showed that most visitors arrived by air, with 22.4 million travelers, while 7.6 million came by rail and around 750,000 visitors by boat.
The figures showed a gradual recovery after the resumption of tourist flights from Russia and amid waning number of terror attacks. Some 25.3 million foreigners entered the country in 2016, versus 36.2 million in 2015.
The negativities slashed Turkey’s tourism revenue in 2016 to $22.11 billion, down from $31.46 billion in 2015.
Istanbul top destination
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population and a top tourist destination, attracted the highest number of visitors with 9.8 million in the 11-month period of this year, according to the ministry data.
The resort city of Antalya, located on the Mediterranean coast, was the number two attraction among cities with passport gates, with around 9.4 million foreign visitors.
Separately, the Turkish Hotel Association (TÜROB) on Dec. 29 announced a 60.3 percent hotel occupancy rate in the first 11 months of the year, up from 51.1 percent in the same period of 2016.Turkey was the country with the highest year-on-year rise in its hotel occupancy rate in this period, 18.1 percent, according to TÜROB data.
Turkey also forecasts over 35 million arrivals in 2018, the minister told Turkish private broadcaster AHaber.
“We expect to end 2017 with 31.4 million tourists and around $26 billion tourism earning,” Kurtulmuş said, adding that the number of foreign arrivals in Turkey would likely hit 35 million or more.
He also said that tourism incentives would be offered on a 12-month basis rather than seasonal basis.
“Our aim is to diversify our tourism market. We’ll invite Chinese people, Indians, Indonesians and many others to enjoy a holiday in our country,” the minister added.