Turkey sees ‘very slight decline in tourist numbers’ despite problems
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkey saw a very slight decrease in tourist numbers despite all the negativities, said interim Culture and Tourism Minister Yalçın Topçu, adding that these losses were not irreversible with government incentives.
“Amid escalating violence in the country, there has only a 0.38 percent decrease in the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey in the first seven months of the year. This is not irreversible,” he said at his exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Sept. 17.
The number of foreign people visiting Turkey increased to 5.5 million in July, a 5.1 percent increase from the same month of 2014, according to data released by the Tourism Ministry on Sept. 2. And the number of foreign visitors decreased by around 0.4 percent in the first seven months of the year, amid rising geopolitical risks and economic problems in Russia.
Topçu said the number of tourists arriving in the first seven months of the year was 20.3 million, and tourism income was $12.6 billion.
“The government has some incentives and improvements to help reduce these [losses],” he said.
He noted that around 4.5 million Russians visited Turkey last year, making Turkey the most popular touristic spot for Russians, but there has been a decrease in the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey this year, like in many other countries, due to Russia’s economic problems.
The number of Russian tourists visiting Spain decreased by 40.9 percent, Italy by 33 percent and Greece by 51 percent this year, he added.
“Our ministry has made decisions to take several measures to support the sector across 13 countries, including Russia. In line with these measures, around $6,000 of support was given to 1,500 charter planes each, which flew from Russia to Turkey, last April and May. These supports will also be offered in the September-November period,” he noted.