Istanbul welcomes nearly 6 million tourists in nine months
Some 5.8 million foreign tourists have visited Istanbul in the first nine months of the year, while in September alone the number of visitors leaped more than 100 percent on an annual basis.
Foreign tourist arrivals in the historic city increased steadily since March, hitting some 6 million people from January to September, showed data from the provincial directorate of culture and tourism.
In September, nearly 976,000 international holidaymakers visited Istanbul, which marked a staggering a 111 percent rise from the same month of last year.
Around 973,000 travelers arrived in the city through airports, a 112 percent increase on an annual basis, while the arrivals by the sea grew six percent in the month from a year ago.
Some 70 percent of the international tourists — or 687,000 people — used Istanbul Airport as the point of entry and another 29 percent — or 284,000 travelers — used the Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Asian side of the megacity.
Iranians top the list of foreign visitors, data also showed. In September, Istanbul welcomed nearly 106,000 Iranian tourists, followed by Russian nationals at around 82,000. Germans constituted the third largest group of visitors at 79,000 and Iraqis ranked fourth at 54,000 people.
Last month, Istanbul also hosted 34,000 tourists from France and 33,000 visitors from the U.S., as well as 30,000 Ukrainians.
The provincial directorate said that travelers from 191 countries visited the city, which is home to more than 16 million people, including one from Laos and Fiji each, and two tourists from Tonga, the Vatican, Bhutan, the Bahamas, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.