Turkey targets 58 mln tourists, over $40 bln revenue

Turkey targets 58 mln tourists, over $40 bln revenue

Turkey targets 58 mln tourists, over $40 bln revenue

Foreign tourists visit the Sacred Road at Ephesus in Izmir province. (Photo: Alamy)

Turkey hopes to attract 58 million foreign tourists and targets more than $40 billion tourism revenues this year, Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has said.

He noted that the exact figures for the full year will be released at the end of the month, but the country probably welcomed 51 million tourists and generated around $34 billion of tourism revenues in 2019.

The minister reiterated that the country’s targets for 2023 are 75 million foreign visitors and $65 billion in revenues.

Turkey aims to increase the per capita overnight expenditure to $78 this year and further $91 in 2023, he said during a meeting organized jointly by the Turkish Tourism Investors’ Association (TTYD) and the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).

Ersoy said the per capita spending was estimated to be $71 in 2019.

“We think a change in mindset and vision in the tourism industry is needed. Such changes must start at the government level and it really happened. Now, tourism is considered to be a strategic industry,” he noted.

“We need to spread tourism activities to all 81 provinces in Turkey.”

The minister also stressed that Turkey faces a problem called “repeat guest.”

“There are Russian tourists who have visited Antalya 40 times. They are starting to get bored of Antalya. We need to promote the Aegean region with them. We need to shift those tourists to the Aegean coasts which have resemblances with Antalya,” he said.

The Tourism Ministry currently works on two major projects in holiday resorts of Çeşme, in the İzmir province on the Aegean coast, and Didim, also on the Aegean coast in the Aydın province, the minister noted.

“Those projects are designed with necessary infrastructure to offer tourism services throughout the year for 12 months. Those are environmentally-friendly projects,” Ersoy added.

The latest data from the Tourism Ministry showed that the number of foreigners visiting Turkey jumped 14.3 percent on a yearly basis between January and November.

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

As far as the breakdown by country of origin is concerned, Russians topped the list with 6.9 million visitors or a 16 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 megacity in January-November.

'Turkey may host 104 million tourists'

Meanwhile, a report prepared by TTYD and TÜSİAD included scenarios of tourism diversification and increasing tourism revenue per person.

Oya Narin, the head of TTYD, said tourism has the potential to be a driving force for the country's development.

Turkey's tourism revenue can reach $119 billion and the unemployment rate would drop to 7.6 percent, Narin said, adding the additional tourism revenue can raise the country's GDP by 1.6 percentage points by 2033.

Simone Kaslowski, the chairman of the TÜSİAD, said tourism plays a critical role in reducing foreign trade deficit.

"Our natural and cultural richness, and geographical position create so significant opportunities," he underlined.

Turkey hosted 42.9 million tourists in January-November 2019 period and 39.5 million in 2018.