Antalya hosts nearly 7 mln tourists

Antalya hosts nearly 7 mln tourists

Antalya hosts nearly 7 mln tourists

Antalya, one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions in the Mediterranean region, has welcomed a total of 6.9 million foreign tourists between January and July 18, marking a strong 16 percent annual increase.

Some 86,000 tourists arrived in the city each day through Antalya and Gazipaşa airports, but on July 14 the city saw a record 96,191 arrivals.

The previous daily arrival records were broken again this year on June 22 with 86,308 and June 29 with 90,989.

“We wake up to a new day with a fresh record. If this trend continues we will easily meet our target of hosting 16 million tourists set for this year,” Ülkay Atmaca, the head of the Professional Hotel Managers’ Association (POYD), told Anadolu Agency.

What matters is not only breaking records but also creating a sustainable tourism industry, Atmaca noted. “We need to receive 90,000 tourists every day throughout the year.”

The Russian and European markets are performing well so far and there have been increases in the number of tourists visiting the city, according to Atmaca.

He reiterated hoteliers demand that the government extends the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday to nine days to give boosts to domestic tourism activity.

Foreign tourist arrivals have been in line with expectations so far, said Erkan Yağcı, the president of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers’ Association (AKTOB).

Yağcı stressed that Russian tourist visits have particularly been satisfying.

“Last year we hosted 4.8 million Russian holidaymakers. We predict a 5 percent to 10 percent growth in the number of Russian tourists per year. We target to welcome more than 5 million Russian tourists,” he said.

In remarks he made in June, Yağcı said that at least 250,000 Russian police officers and their families are expected to visit Turkey starting from August after Moscow removed a ban that had prevented members of the Russian security forces from traveling to some countries.