Turkish tourist arrivals in July slow amid protests, Ramadan

Turkish tourist arrivals in July slow amid protests, Ramadan

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Turkish tourist arrivals in July slow amid protests, Ramadan

DHA Photo

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey grew at its slowest pace for eight months in July, as the impact of anti-government protests and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan took their toll, data showed on Aug. 23.

Foreign arrivals rose 0.48 percent year-on-year last month to 4.59 million people, according to the Tourism Ministry figures, the lowest rise since November. The number of visitors rose 4.93 percent the previous month.

Tourism revenues constitute one of the most important items that help finance Turkey’s current account deficit, running at over 7 percent of output and its main economic weakness.

Istanbul was the hardest hit with its central Taksim square, lined by hotels, the epicenter
of the unrest. Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts and other popular destinations, however, were largely unaffected by protests.

Arab tourist numbers fall in Ramadan

Turkey is a major destination for Arab tourists but their numbers are usually lower during Ramadan, which this year fell largely in July.

In 2012 as a whole, the total number of foreign visitors amounted to 31.78 million people, up 1.04 percent from 2011.

Turkey welcomed around 4 million foreign visitors in June, marking a 5 percent rise from the same period a year earlier while Istanbul posted a 2 percent rise despite the Gezi protests which lasted throughout the month. The numbers increased to 14.5 million for the first six months of the year, marking a 14.3 percent rise when compared to the same period of the previous year.