German tourists help keep Turkish tourist numbers afloat
ANKARAAn increase in the number of German tourists coming to Turkey helped offset a dramatic decline in the number of overseas visitors to the country during the first five months of 2015, according to data from the Tourism Ministry.
The number of German tourists increased by 26.4 percent in May from the same months of the previous year and by 12.4 percent in the first five months of the year compared to the same period of the previous year.
Overall, however, the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey decreased by 1.2 percent to 10.7 million in the first five months of the year, mainly due to a dramatic drop in the number of Russian tourists, while the number of tourists decreased by 2.4 percent to 3.8 million in May year on year, according to ministry data.
The number of Russian tourists rose by 11 percent to 1.1 million in the first five months of 2014, compared to the same period of 2013. The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey, however, decreased by 28.3 percent to 801,915 in the first five months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014. While around 700,000 Russian tourists visited the country last May, this figure decreased to 500,000 in May 2015, according to ministry data.
The largest number of tourists came from Germany in May 2015 with around 624,000 visitors. Germany was followed by Russia at 13 percent of the total figure and Britain at 8.17 percent.
Some 35 percent of the foreign tourists visited the Mediterranean province of Antalya in May, followed by Istanbul at 31 percent and the Aegean province of Muğla at around 10 percent. In the first five months of the year, Germany was again the biggest provider with around 1.55 million tourists, followed by Russia with 801,915 tourists and Bulgaria with 665,489 tourists.
Başaran Ulusoy, the president of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), told Anadolu Agency that the number of visitors was expected to exceed 42 million by the end this year and the tourism income to exceed $35 billion.
A total of 37 million foreign tourists visited Turkey last year, an increase of 5.5 percent from the previous year, according to ministry data.