Tourist arrivals in country jump to 1.5 mln in February
Foreign tourist arrivals in Turkey increased to more than 1.5 million last month, according to official data released yesterday.
The number of foreigners visiting the country was 1.54 million in February, up 186.5 percent from the same
month of the previous year, according to the numbers announced by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Istanbul was the top point of border entry for foreigners last month with 956,482 visitors.
It was followed by the northwestern border province of Edirne, which is a popular destination especially for daily trips by Bulgarians, with 181,665 foreign tourists and the Mediterranean resort province of Antalya with 131,960 visitors.
Germans and Bulgarians had a share of over 8.3% of all visitors each with approximately 128,000 apiece. They were followed by visitors from Iran with 120,475.
Turkish hoteliers are closely watching the war in Ukraine as the geopolitical tension in the region may have repercussions on the country’s key tourism industry.
Last year, 4.6 million Russians and 2 million Ukrainians vacationed in the country, making up the first and third largest group of foreign visitors, respectively.
Some 9 million Russian and Ukrainian tourists were expected to come to Turkey this year.
“Even if the war ends, we may not still have as many tourists as we had forecast this year. But still, at least 4.5 million to 5 million people from Russia and Ukraine may visit Turkey this year,” Firuz Bağlıkaya, the head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), said recently.
In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the global travel sector, Turkey welcomed 45 million foreign tourists. In 2020, some 12.7 million international holidaymakers visited the country. Last year, the number of foreign tourists increased by 88 percent from 2020 to more than 30 million people, while tourism revenues leaped 103 percent to stand at $24.5 billion.
At the start of the year, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced a target of generating $35 billion in revenues in overall 2022.