Turkey hosts nearly 43 mln foreign tourists by year-end 2019

Turkey hosts nearly 43 mln foreign tourists by year-end 2019

Turkey hosts nearly 43 mln foreign tourists by year-end 2019

The number of foreigners visiting Turkey jumped 14.3 percent on a yearly basis between January and November, data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry have shown.

Over the past 11 months, a total of 42.9 million foreign holidaymakers entered the country, the ministry said on Dec. 30.

As far as the breakdown by country of origin is concerned, Russians topped the list with 6.9 million visitors or a16 percent share in total foreign tourist arrivals, followed by Germans with 11.3 percent (4.8 million visitors) and Britons with 5.8 percent (2.5 million).

In January-November this year, 2.48 million Bulgarian nationals spent the holiday in Turkey, accounting for some 5.8 percent of total foreign tourists, while Iranians captured the fifth spot with 1.97 million, or 4.6 percent, in total.

Data from the ministry also revealed that the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya was the top tourist draw in the country. It attracted around 14.4 million foreign holidaymakers - 33.7 percent of all visitors - in the first 11 months of the year.

Istanbul was the second most popular destination with foreign tourists. A total of 13.8 million foreign nationals visited the mega city in January-November.

The northwestern province of Edirne, which borders both Bulgaria and Greece, saw the third highest number of foreigners with 4 million, or 9.4 percent, of all visits.

In November alone, the country welcomed 2.2 million foreign visitors, which translated into an 11.4 percent year-on-year rise, data showed.

Last year, some 39.5 million foreigners entered the country, up from 32.4 million in 2017.

The government’s new economic program, released in September, projects $29 billion in tourism revenues for 2019.

According to the estimates in the program, Turkey’s tourism revenues will increase to $34.3 billion next year and further to $40.1 billion in 2021. The government’s revenue target for 2022 is $46.5 billion.

The latest data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed that the country’s tourism revenues soared 22 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter of 2019 to stand at $14.03 billion.

In the first nine months of 2019, Turkey’s tourism income totaled over $26.6 billion, up by 16.15 percent from $22.9 billion in the same period last year.

In September this year, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said that Turkey was eyeing 75 million tourists by 2023.

“The average expenditure per capita is targeted to hit $867 in 2023,” he added.

TÜİK reported that in the third quarter of 2019, visitors’ average expenditures were $649 per capita, as foreign visitors spent $623 per capita and Turkish citizens spent $789.