Tourism revenues leap 122 percent to $5.4 billion
Turkey’s tourism revenues jumped 122 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter of 2022, while nearly 2.1 million foreign tourists visited the country in March, marking a robust increase of 129 percent from a year earlier.
The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said on April 29 that the country’s tourism income amounted to $5.45 billion in January-March.
Turkey aims to generate $35 billion in tourism revenues, which stood at $24.5 billion in 2021, this year.
Per capita spending was $845 in the first quarter, down from $943 in the same period of last year.
Some 76.5 percent of the tourism revenues were generated from foreign tourists, excluding GSM roaming and marina services expenditures, while the remaining 23.5 percent were from Turkish citizens residing abroad, TÜİK said.
On average per night spending of visitors was $68, slightly higher than $66 a year ago.
Tourist arrivals up 130 percent
Meanwhile, the Culture and Tourism Ministry unveiled its own data on April 29, which showed that 2.1 million foreign tourists visited Turkey in March, marking a 129.7 percent increase from the same month of 2021.
Iranians top the list of foreign holidaymakers in the month at 275,000 people. Some 187,000 Germans and 170,000 Bulgarian nationals visited Turkey in March. Britons constituted the fourth-largest group of visitors at 87,000 people.
Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, nearly 120,000 Russians came to Turkey, accounting for some 6 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals.
The ministry data also showed that Turkey welcomed 66,000 Ukrainians in March, up from 51,000 people in the same month of 2021 and 22,600 people two years ago.
In the first three months of the year, foreign tourist arrivals in the country soared 151 percent from a year ago to 4.9 million people. In the first quarter of 2020, Turkey attracted 4.2 million international holidaymakers.
People in the tourism industry have been voicing concern that visitor inflows from Russia and Ukraine may be weaker this year due to the ongoing conflict.
The ministry’s data show that 4.7 million Russians and 2.1 million Ukrainians vacationed in Turkey in 2021, whereas back in 2019, 7 million Russians and 1.6 million Ukrainians visited the country.
From January to March 2022, more than 360,000 Russians and 145,000 Ukrainians came to Turkey.
Local hoteliers, however, are hopeful that holidaymakers from other parts of Europe could flock to Turkey this summer as the COVID-19-related travel bans were lifted and the pandemic situation has significantly improved.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy said on April 28 that Turkey maintains its revenue and foreign tourist targets it set for 2022.
“We are working intensively with the Tourism Promotion and Development Agency. There is strong demand from Western and the Middle Eastern countries,” Ersoy said.
He also added that at least 200 cruise ships are expected to visit Galataport in Istanbul in 2022. “This figure may go even up to 250 this year and double in 2023.”