Over 500,000 foreign tourists visit Antalya in first quarter of 2019
The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey’s popular holiday destination Antalya increased by 25 percent on an annual basis to 571,207 in the first three months of the year, with Germans topping the list followed by Russian nationals.
According to data from the city’s airport authority, 151,391 German tourists came to Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, in January-March, an eight percent increase compared to the same period of 2018. German nationals accounted for 26.5 percent of total foreign tourists that visited the city in the first quarter of the year.
Russian tourist arrivals, on the other hand, showed a 74 percent increase as 136,689 Russians visited Antalya over the same period. The share of the Russians in total foreign visitor numbers was 23.93 percent.
Turkey and Russia have been in talks to allow Russian nationals to travel to Turkey without a passport, the Turkish foreign minister said last month.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the issue with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at a meeting held in Antalya on March 29.
In February, Russia’s president signed a decree to lift visa requirements for Turkish service passport holders and truck drivers traveling to Russia.
Çavuşoğlu said Ankara expects Russia to remove the visa ban on Turkish citizens.
Visitors from 140 nations
Data also showed that people from 140 countries visited Antalya in the first three months of the year, including the Polish, Iranians, Israelis, Dutch, Norwegians, Swedes, French, and Ukrainians.
Britons made up the third largest group with a 6.44 percent share in total foreign tourists. In January-March, 36,791 U.K. nationals arrived in the city for vacation, translating into a 58 percent increase compared to the same period of the last year.
In March alone, Antalya attracted 279, 097 foreign tourists which corresponded to a five percent increase from a year ago.
The number of German visitors, however, declined by 18 percent on an annual basis to 77,881. Yet, the Germans were still the largest group, followed by the Russians. In the month, a total of 30,631 Russian nationals visited Antalya, a 45 percent increase from a year earlier.
In January and February, foreign tourist arrivals in the city rose by 50 percent compared to the same months of 2018.
Last year 13.6 million foreign and more than 3 million domestic tourists visited Antalya – this marked a record number of tourists for the city.
Antalya targets to welcome 15 million foreign and 5 million domestic tourists this year.