Istanbul receives record 5.5M tourists this year

Istanbul receives record 5.5M tourists this year

Istanbul receives record 5.5M tourists this year

A total of 5.42 million foreign tourists visited Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural capital, in the first five months of 2019.

Foreign arrivals exhibited a sharp 11 percent increase on an annual basis in January-May, showed data from the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism.

In May alone, Turkey’s largest city hosted 1.02 million foreign tourists, a 3.3 percent increase from the same month of 2018. This marked a slight decline compared to April, when foreign tourist arrivals increased by 16.2 percent on an annual basis to 1.33 million. In March, Istanbul saw an 8.6 percent rise in tourist visits to 1.17 million.

In the first five months of the year, Turkey welcomed 12.8 million tourists, up from 11.5 million a year earlier.

“Istanbul is on course to meet its target of hosting 15 million tourists set for 2019,” said a statement from the Istanbul Governor’s Office.

“We offer world-class services with our hotels, bed capacity, and accommodation facilities. Our pricing policy is realistic,” Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said.

He pointed out that the newly opened Istanbul Airport has strengthened the hub status of the city.

“We target to become one of the top three tourist destinations in the world. We will make that happen,” Yerlikaya added.

The report from the local tourism authority also showed 5.42 million tourists vising Istanbul was the highest figure over the past five years for the January-May period.

In January-May of 2015, 4.6 million foreign tourists arrived while the corresponding figures for 2016 and 2017 were 3.7 million and 3.6 million, respectively.

Some 5.4 million tourists arrived in the city by air transport while only a tiny fraction of visitors (around 16,000) travelled to Istanbul by cruises.

Some 30 percent of foreign tourists arrived at Istanbul Airport which began operations in early April.

Germans topped the foreign visitors’ list, followed by Iranians and Russian nationals.

In the first five months of 2019, a total of 394,925 German tourists visited the city, a 4.8 percent rise from a year ago. Germans accounted for 7.3 percent of all foreign tourists.

According to data, visits by Iranians declined by 17.7 percent on an annual basis to 337,428 while the number of Russian tourists jumped 17.9 percent to 290,985.

The number of Angolan tourists visiting the city strikingly soared 306 percent to 3,754 in January-May.

The reports also said that there were a total of 581 accommodation facilities, such as hotels, hostels, and apart hotels, in the city with 8,723 rooms with more than 117,000-bed capacity.

According to the report, Istanbul had 104 five-star hotels, 128 four-star hotels and 131 three-star hotels.