Turkey expects to host 15 million foreign tourists this year

Turkey expects to host 15 million foreign tourists this year

Turkey expects to host 15 million foreign tourists this year

Even though tourism figures have dragged down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey will be able to retrieve some of its targeted tourist and revenue numbers, the culture and tourism minister said on Aug. 24.

“Our expectations for the year 2020 were very high. We will see significant declines compared with the 2019 data,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told private broadcaster NTV.

“If there is no setback in air traffic, as we haven’t seen so far, we think that we can reach a tourist number of 15 million at the end of the year,” he said.

“We will pass a threshold of $11 billion in revenues this year, I estimate,” added Ersoy.

After reopening tourism facilities on June 1 to host domestic tourists, Turkey’s tourism industry ramped up operations with the Safe Tourism Certification Program designed jointly by the tourism, health, transportation and interior ministries.

Since travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic were lifted, tourists from Ukraine started arriving in June, and flights carrying British tourists resumed in mid-July.

As of the end of July, some 6.5 million foreign tourists, including 1.2 million Turks residing abroad, visited Turkey so far this year, according to Ersoy’s remarks.

Before the pandemic hit the country in mid-March, Turkey was hoping 60 million foreign tourists to bring $40 billion in revenues in 2020.

Russia and Germany, the top two tourism markets for Turkey, resumed travel to Turkey this month, raising hopes for take-off in tourist numbers.

Some 4,900 tourism facilities were given a safe tourism certificate, Ersoy said. More than half of the certified facilities are in the hospitality sector and the rest of them are restaurants and transportation services, he added.