Turkey’s tourism sector eyeing 35 million foreign tourists in 2018 as tough period eases
The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey rose 28 percent in the first 10 months of the year, hitting 29 million, mainly due to an ongoing rebound in the Russian market, data from the Tourism Ministry showed on Nov. 29.
Hoteliers Federations of Turkey (TÜROFED) head Osman Ayık said both the number of foreign arrivals into Turkey and the country’s tourism revenue would return to the “good old days” soon, following a series of decisions taken at a key sector council meeting in November by sector players and government officials.
“As long as Turkey does not witness any terror attack or crises, we expect a significant increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting our country. Both the private sector and the Culture and Tourism Ministry have worked vigorously to achieve this goal,” Ayık told state-run Anadolu Agency on Dec. 12.
“The sector will likely close this year with nearly 29 million foreign tourists. Our expectation for the next year is to host more than 35 million foreign tourists,” he added.
Amid a series of terror attacks, a failed coup attempt and a diplomatic crisis with Russia, the number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey plummeted to 25.3 million in 2016, down from 36.2 million in the previous year.
These negativities slashed Turkey’s tourism revenue in 2016 to $22.11 billion, down from $31.46 billion in 2015.
Ayık noted that 2017 was a year of recovery for the Turkish tourism sector with more than $20 billion in earnings in the first nine months of the year.
More than 4.5 million Russians visited Turkey in the first 10 months of the year, marking a 496 percent year-on-year increase, as the bilateral ties between the two countries have normalized after a jet crisis.
“However, we have not reached the desired numbers regarding Germany, which was long our number one tourism market. We have even seen a further decline in the number of arrivals from this key market,” Ayık said, adding that the sector needs to place a special emphasis on the German market, as its loss has created a spillover effect in neighboring markets.