Antalya welcomes record 10 million foreign tourists

Antalya welcomes record 10 million foreign tourists

Antalya welcomes record 10 million foreign tourists

Antalya, one of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations on the Mediterranean coast, welcomed a record number of 10 million foreign tourists between Jan. 1 and Aug. 22.

Data from the provincial directorate of culture and tourism showed that the number of foreign holidaymakers visiting the province increased by a strong 17.6 percent from 8.6 million visitors in the same period of last year. The number of foreign tourists vising Antalya was 6.7 million in January-August of 2017.

Tourists from some 200 countries spent their holiday in the province, with Russians topping the list, followed by German nationals and Ukrainians.

Ülkay Atmaca, the head of the Professional Hotel Managers’ Association of Turkey, welcomed the latest figures saying, “Our target is to host 16 million tourists.”

“We are working hard to meet this target and if foreign visits continue at the current pace, this target is within reach. Everything goes as we planned up to date,” Atmaca added.

He noted that some 14 million foreign tourists visited the city in the whole of 2018.

“Foreign tourists’ interest in the city was strong in August, we expect to see the same momentum in September,” Atmaca said, adding that revenues from international visitors are also on the rise.

“At the beginning of the year we also targeted a 10 percent increase in tourism revenues for 2019. Revenues have already increased around 8 percent to 10 percent.”

The latest figures are in line with expectations, according to Erkan Yağcı, the chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers Association (AKTOB).

“We hope to keep this momentum during winter when tourism activity is traditionally weaker,” he said.

Yağcı is also confident that the target of hosting 16 million tourists this year will be met.

Osman Ayık, the head of the Turkish Hoteliers’ Association (TÜROFED), said in July that facilities which accommodate tourists in the Antalya region have some 600,000-bed capacity.

The latest data from the Tourism and Culture Ministry showed that in the first half of this year more than 18 million foreign tourists visited Turkey, marking a strong 13.2 percent increase from the same period of 2018.

In June alone, the number of foreign tourist arrivals jumped 18.1 percent on an annual basis to 5.3 million.

The government targets to draw 50 million tourists and some $35 billion in revenue from tourism activities this year.