Turkey attracts more tourists than Spain: Minister

Turkey attracts more tourists than Spain: Minister

Turkey attracts more tourists than Spain: Minister

Turkey has lured more tourists than Spain for the first time ever, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has said.

Turkey was the first nation in Europe and other nearby destinations to come up with the idea of a “safe tourism certificate” and implemented this certificate program very successfully, Ersoy told members of the parliament’s budget and planning commission.

The latest data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry showed that between January and September nearly 17.6 million foreign tourists visited Turkey, up some 86 percent compared with the same period of 2020.

In September alone, foreign tourist arrivals in the country leaped more than 59 percent on an annual basis to 3.5 million people.

Ersoy recalled that the targets for tourism revenues and foreign tourist visits for 2021 had already been revised last month to $22 billion and 28 million people, respectively from the initial forecasts of $20 billion of revenues and 25 million visitors.

“Tourism activity in Turkey is going very well. Our tourism revenues may even reach $24 billion this year. We are working closely with tourism professionals, we are working hard,” Ersoy said, noting that tourists’ per capita spending, which stood at $630 in 2018, increased to $830 in the first nine months of 2021.

Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit global travel and tourism industries, Turkey hosted 12.7 million foreign visitors, whereas in the previous year over 45 million international holidaymakers came to the country.

In 2020, Turkey’s tourism revenues amounted to around $12.1 billion.

[HH] Cruise tourism in Kuşadası

In a sign that Turkey may see a much better tourism season next year, some 650 cruise ships are expected to bring in 750,000 visitors to Kuşadası, an important holiday destination in Turkey’s western province of İzmir on the Aegean coast in 2022.

Cruise visits to the district were halted due to COVID-19, but after months the first of those floating hotels anchored to its port in October.

During November and December, which are normally not the peak season, 13 luxury liners will visit Kuşadası.

There was almost no ship traffic at the port in 2020 because of COVID-19 but some activity started toward the end of the year, said Aziz Güngor from Global Ports Holding.

“So far 17 liners visited the port and 13 more will arrive by the end of the year. This [the resumption of ship traffic] came a little late but is still pleasing. The remainder of the year will be busy,” he added.

According to Güngör, 650 cruise ships that will bring 750,000 visitors have already made reservations for Kuşadası for next year, which he noted marks the largest ever number of visitors on such liners for the district.